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The President of the "Jplted States, the rreniier of the 
tf»5,S,R., and the Prim Minister of the United Kinedon, 
hiving consul tad with each other and with the Prime Kinlstar 
of Iran, desire to declare tha mutual afireerrent of their 
three Gcvenvaflnts regarding thalr relations with Iran. 

The Governments or tha United States, the 'J.S.S+B., 
and tha United Kingdom racogral*© the assistance which Iran 
haa given la tie prosecution of tha war against, the cannon 
enemy, particularly by facilitating the transportation of 
supplies from overseas to fJio Sovlat Union, 

The Three Governments realite that the war has 
caused special economic difficulties for Iran, and they 
are agreed that thay nill continue to maVf available to the 
Government or Iran such economic assistance as may 
be possible, having regard to ilia heavy desnands made 
upon them by their w&r id-arid e military operations anil to 
the world-wide shortage of transport, rnvt .imteriaJs, and 
&uppli«s fur civiiian consumption. 

With reapaot to tha poat-«er period, the (SoTerrtnenta of 
the United States, the U.S.S.R., and the tfnitod Kingdom 
are In accord «lth the Gorernaant of Iran that any 
econoaic problena confronting Iran at the close of 
hostilities should receivo full consideration, along with 
those of other nenbars of the United Nations, bylwf-j 
conferences or international agencies hnld or cheated 
to deal aith International economic matters. 

The Govcrnraenlfl of the United States, ths U.S.5.R., 
and the United Kingdom ore atone with the Government of 
Iran In thalr desire for the maintenance of the independence, 
sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran, They count 
upon ths participation of Iran, together "Ith all other 
peace-loving nations, In the establishment of international 
peace, security am? prosperity after the war, in accordance 
■lth thn principles of the Atlantic Charter, to which all 
four Governaenta have subscribed. 


I [For text see page 444.] I 


The Middle East Theater 


T. H. Vail Motter 


Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 52-60791 

First Printed 1952— CMH Pub 8-1 

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington, DC. 20402 

• • 

to Those Who Served 


This volume relates the problems faced by Allies who met in strange 
lands without the benefit of tested and well co-ordinated policies to 
govern their diplomatic and military relations. The jealousies and con- 
flicting interests of nations and of government agencies, together with 
the overlapping of authorities, aggravated an already complex situa- 
tion. The history here presented seems to make axiomatic the necessity 
for a single commander in the field who has clear-cut instructions 
based on long-range plans that have been evolved from past experience 
and precedent. 

Because of its valuable information and acute analysis, this book 
is essential reading for those faced with the responsibility of future plan- 
ning in the realms of strategy and its logistical elements. Soldier, 
diplomat, and financier will find in the following pages a forewarning 
of the type of problems to be encountered whether in the field of trans- 
portation, communications, access to raw materials, the insurance of 
uninterrupted oil supplies, or in the unpredictable and delicate job of 
international relations. 

Those on the ground struggled with immediate problems not always 
clearly seen from a distance. Anticipation, planning, and study of his- 
tory may reduce, if not eliminate, such difficulties in the future. 

The author, who holds a Ph.D. from Yale, spent more than two 
years with the U.S. Army in the Middle East during the war and served 
for nearly seven years as Chief of the Middle East Section, Office of the 
Chief of Military History. He has published books and articles in the 
field of literary and historical scholarship. 

Washington, D. C. 

15 December 1951 


Maj. Gen., U.S.A. 

Chief of Military History 



No book which takes years to write and another year to bring to 
publication can hope to keep up with events in Iran. I have therefore 
dropped a chapter on the postwar years because I could only record in 
it confused and ever graver incidents without being able, at such close 
range, to assess their meaning. 

Moreover, my purpose has been to tell the story of United States 
Army activity in the Persian Corridor during the war years 1941-1945. 
Since the true historical significance of that activity may well prove 
to be not the success of the aid-to-Russia supply effort — significant as 
that was to the victory — but the intimate association of the United 
States with the state of Iran, I have set the Army's story within the 
larger framework of economic, social, and political factors, without, I 
hope, taking my eye from the object, which was to show how the Army 
got there, what it did, and what its activity meant. 

I have drawn for primary sources upon official documents and upon 
interviews and correspondence, and for secondary sources upon narra- 
tives prepared during the war at U.S. Army headquarters, Tehran. 
The location of documents cited in the footnotes may in some instances 
be ascertained by reference to the Glossary, where designations of col- 
lections are explained. The chief of these include the files of headquar- 
ters and subheadquarters of the American commands at Tehran and 
Cairo; and at Washington the files of the War Department General 
Staff, War Plans and Operations Divisions, the Historical Records Sec- 
tion, Departmental Records Branch, Adjutant General's Office, the 
Control and International Divisions, Army Service Forces, the Military 
Intelligence Division, the files of the North Atlantic Division Engineer 
and of the New York Ordnance Department (both at New York) ; and 
at Washington again, the files of the Office of the Chief of Engineers, 
the Office of the Chief of Transportation, the Department of State, and 
the Foreign Economic Administration. Smaller selected files assembled 
by the historical sections at Tehran and Cairo (cited as the Persian Gulf 
Files and the Middle East Files respectively) have also been heavily 
drawn upon. I am obliged to the officials of the Historical Section, Cabi- 
net Office, London, for their courtesy in furnishing copies of British 
documents not available in American files ; and to the following civilian 
contractors who allowed access to the records of their Persian Corridor 
operations and, through conference and correspondence, supplied valu- 
able information or commentary : Foley Brothers, Inc. ; Spencer, White 


and Prentis, Inc.; the General Motors Overseas Corporation; the 
Douglas Aircraft Company ; the J. G. White Engineering Corporation ; 
the Bahrein Petroleum Company; and the Bechtel-McCone Company. 
Specific obligations in these and all other instances are cited in the 

Many persons, through interviews, correspondence, and memo- 
randa, have supplied information, criticism, and a variety of points of 
view useful in the highest degree. I am especially grateful to the fol- 
lowing: Col. Philip T. Boone, Brig. Gen. Donald P. Booth, Maj. Gen. 
Donald H. Connolly, Col. L. D. Curtis, Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr., Arthur 
W. DuBois, C. Vaughan Ferguson, John W. Frey, Maj. Gen. Patrick 
J. Hurley, Col. Milford F. Henkel, Philip C. Kidd, James M. Landis, 
John Lawrence, Col. Albert C. Lieber, Jr., Derwood W. Lockard, 
Maj. Gen. Russell L. Maxwell, Wallace Murray, Maj. Gen. Clarence S. 
Ridley, Brig. Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Charles H. Sells, Brig. 
Gen. Don G. Shingler, Col. John B. Stetson, Jr., Brig. Gen. Joseph B. 
Sweet, Frederick Winant, Edwin M. Wright, T. Cuyler Young, and 
Brig. Gen. Paul F. Yount. 

Most useful of secondary sources were the studies prepared in the 
Historical Section, Office of Technical Information, Headquarters, 
Persian Gulf Command, by 1st Lt. Francis J. Lewis, Acting Chief of 
the Section, and the following noncommissioned officers : Laurence P. 
Corbett, Ralph W. Kerns, Victor H. Pentlarge, Jr., Ogden C. Reed, 
Wallace P. Rusterholtz, and George B. Zeigler. They are narratives 
(cited with their authors' names in the footnotes) totaling a quarter 
of a million words, written at the level of the operating units. The 
studies provided information, background, and a reservoir of incident 
and comment of the sort that does not reach papers produced at the 
highest levels. Three of these narratives, abridged by Sylvia Josif 
(Mrs. Harold Josif), provided the starting point for my chapters on 
port, railway, and trucking operations. 

Of help received from members of the Office of the Chief of Mili- 
tary History I particularly mention the expert collaboration in statis- 
tical matters of George Powell and the skill, tact, and taste with which 
Miss Ruth Stout, for two years as my editorial assistant and thereafter 
as Associate Editor, shepherded the manuscript into print. Finally, I 
wish to note that this project was undertaken in 1944 by invitation 
of Dr. Walter L. Wright, Jr., first Chief Historian of the Army, whose 
interest continued after he left the Pentagon in 1946 and persisted to 
his untimely death at Princeton University in 1 949. 

Washington, D. C. 
15 December 1951 


The Coming of the Americans 

Chapter Page 


Supplying the Soviet War Machine 3 

The British and the Americans 7 

The Russians and the Americans 19 

The Iranians and the Americans 26 


Wheels Within Wheels 29 

Planning and Action 35 

The Civilian Contractors , 42 


The Engineer Tasks 44 

The Ordnance Program 48 

The Mission's Tasks 53 

Arrival in Iraq 56 

All Change — New Priority . 59 


Why and Where? 65 

Fifth Wheel 68 

Command and Conflict 72 

Russia Unoisited 77 


Jobs, Geography, and .Manpower 82 

Unification of the Middle East Missions 85 

Militarization of Contract Activities 93 


Making Bricks Without Straw 101 

Barge Assembly at Kuwait 109' 

Administrative Problems 112 

The Contract Terminated 118 


Early Plans 124 

The Battle of the Backlog 127 

Militarization 1 36- 


Chapter Page 


Plans and Plants 141 

Problems and Performance 145 


Before World War II . 157 

Inception of the American Advisory Missions 161 

The Ridley and Schwarzkopf Appointments 169 

The Persian Gulf Command 


The Midsummer Crisis, 1942 175 

Ways and Means 180 

The SOS Plan 192 

The Plan Approved 198 

Unfinished Business 200 

Implementing the Plan 206 


The Structure of American Headquarters 213 

The Districts 222 

Evolution of the Persian Gulf Command 226 

Division of Responsibility With the British 233 


A Bird's-Eye View 240 

The Army Takes Over Construction 246 

Signal Communications 253 

The Command and Air Activities 256 

Logistical Support of Frantic Mission 258 

The Command and Project Lux 260 


The Pressure of the Protocols 264 

Manpower, Procedures, and Production 266 

Abadan Air Base 270 


Plant 274 

Problems 277 

The End of Operations 281 


Early Pipeline Projects 285 

Increase of Middle East Refinery Capacity — Bahrein 291 

Container Plants at Abadan and Bahrein 298 

Supply of POL Within the Command 302 

Gasoline for Russia 306 


Chapter Page 


The Preliminaries 310 

The Trucks Start Rolling 316 

Operations and Obstacles 322 

The Score 328 


Authority and Responsibility 333 

The Power of the Purse 339 

The Americans Take Over 346 

Men at Work 353 

Probler.s and Solutions 360 

The Last Months 375 


Evolution of American Responsibility 380 

The American Organization and Its Functions 385 

The Ports and Their Problems 392 

Performance 407 


The Process of Contraction 418 

Evacuation and Redeployment 425 

Liquidation of Property 427 

Comparative Score 432 

Iran: The Fourth Partner 


The Question of Status 437 

Broadening the Directive 447 


The Contracts 462 

The Work of the Missions 464 

Priorities and Policy 468 

The Question of Continuing the Missions 473 



1. Cargo Shipped from the Western Hemisphere to the USSR by 

Route of Delivery, 22 June 1941-20 September 1945 481 

2. Cargo Shipped from the Western Hemisphere to Persian Gulf 

Ports for the USSR, by Type, November 1941-May 1945 . . 484 

3. Cargo Discharged at American-Operated Ports in the Persian Gulf, 

January 1943-May 1945 486 

4. Supplies Delivered to the USSR through the Persian Corridor, by 

Type of Transport, 1942-1945 488 



A. TABLES — Continued Pag* 
5. Freight Hauled by Rail North of Andimeshk, Iran, August 1942- 

May 1945 . 490 

6 Freight Hauled in the Persian Corridor by the Motor Transport 

Service, 1943-1944 492 

7. Number of Vehicles Assembled at Truck Assembly Plants in the 

Persian Corridor, March 1942-April 1945 494 

8. Monthly Output of Assembled Vehicles at Truck Assembly Plant 

II, Khorramshahr, Iran, 26 January 1943-19 April 1945 , . . 495 

9. Monthly Output of Assembled Vehicles at Truck Assembly Plant 1, 

Andimeshk, Iran, March 1942-December 1944 496 

10. Monthly Deliveries of Aircraft, to the USSR by U.S. Army in the 

Persian Corridor, 1942-1945 498 

11. Aircraft Delivered to the USSR by U.S. Army in the Persian 

Corridor, by Type, 1942-1945 498 

12. Assigned Strength of U.S. Army Forces in the Persian Corridor, 

1943-1945 499 

13. Distribution of U.S. Army Civilian Employees in the Persian 

Corridor, 1943-1945 500 

14. Estimated Costs of Constructing Fixed Installations in the Persian 

Corridor, 1943-1945 501 

15. Drum Production at Bahrein, 1944-1945 502 


1. United States Army Forces in the Middle East 502 

2. Manpower in U.S. Army Operations in the Persian Corridor, 

1941-1945 503 

3. Aircraft Delivered to the USSR at Abadan,"lran, 1942-19*45 .' ' '. 504 

4. Vehicles Assembled at Truck Assembly Plant I, Andimeshk, Iran, 

1942-1944 504 

5. Vehicles Assembled at Truck Assembly Plant II, Khorramshahr, 

Iran, 1943-1945 505 

6. Freight Hauled in the Persian Corridor by the Motor Transport 

Service, 1943-1944 505 

7. Freight Hauled North of Andimeshk, Iran, on Iranian State Railway, 

August 1942-May 1945 506 

8. Cargo Discharged at American-Operated Ports in the Persian Gulf, 

January 1943-May 1945 506 

9. Discharge and Inland Clearance Operations at Khorramshahr, Iran, 

August 1942-May 1945 . 507 

10. Discharge and Inland Clearance Operations at Bandar Shahpur, 

Iran, August 1942-January 1945 507 

11. USSR Cargo Landed at Cheybassi, Iraq, July 1 943-September 

1944 508 

12. Cargo Shipped to the USSR from the Western Hemisphere, by 

Route, 22 June 1941-20 September 1945 508 


INDEX 515 



Mo. Page 

1 . Approaches to the Middle East Inside back cover 

2. Principal Russian-Aid Routes , Inside back cover 

3. The Districts, 1942-1945 223 

4. American-Operated Routes 314 

5. The Ports , Inside back cover 



Declaration of the Three Powers Regarding Iran Frontispiece 

Aerial Photo of Khorramshahr 392 

Aerial Photo of Bandar Shahpur 393 

The Frontispiece, supplied by the Department 
of State, is from the White House files. 

The two photos are from the U, S. Air Forces, 
Department of Defense. 




Experiment in Co-operation 

The story of United States Army activity in the Persian Corridor 
during World War II has a central theme, supply. Its major develop- 
ment, lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union, grows out of its minor, lend- 
lease aid to Great Britain in supplying Russia and in preparing against 
threatened Axis invasion of the area. The fighting war, the war of 
guns, is but a muted obbligato to the central theme. The strategic unity 
of the Middle East and its vital importance to the final victory, the 
bloody struggle to fend off Axis drives toward Suez and the oil fields 
of Iraq and Iran, of Saudi Arabia and the Caucasus — these are high 
themes, but not the subject of this book. 

This is not the story of guns and fighting. Here, men do not kill, 
though they are sometimes killed. The story of supply tells of another 
kind of fight, not without its own brand of courage, its own price of 

Supply is the theme, the fighting war all but an echo. There will be 
dissonance ; for in this story the United States finds itself upon a stage 
long trodden in rivalry by Britain and Russia. From the mingled motifs 
arise overtones, troubled echoes of the past, jarring notes of the present, 
and unfinished phrases awaiting the future. 

Supplying the Soviet War Machine 

Military supply is a means, not an end. Mechanized warfare has 
made it a prime factor in planning and in operations. Skill, spirit, 
supply — these are essentials to victory; but without the third, the first 


two cannot prevail in a struggle of industrialized antagonists. The pool- 
ing of supply, the American idea which culminated in the Lend-Lease 
Act of 1941, produced one of the most potent weapons of World War 
II. Conceived as a defensive measure, on the principle that defense of 
Axis enemies was defense of the United States, the Lend-Lease Act 
was in effect a declaration of economic belligerency in a war that 
intertwined industrial with military power. It was lend-lease which, 
long before Pearl Harbor brought military belligerency to the United 
States, furnished the means by which American economic strength 
could be shared with Great Britain in 1941 in the Middle East. In that 
crucial area Britain waged a David and Goliath struggle against Italian 
and German armies in North and East Africa, in Greece and Crete, 
and against pro-Nazi elements in Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Defeat would 
have entailed the loss of an area necessary to the victor in a global war. 
Defeat would have cut off Britain from her best source of essential 
petroleum. American aid in the form of war materials and logistic 
services, brought to Africa in 1941 and 1942, weighed fully in the 
reckoning which took place at El Alamein in October 1942. There, 
spirit, skill, and superior supply overcame spirit, skill, and vanishing 
supply, and the Axis threat from the west against the Middle East was 
eliminated. {Map 1\ — inside back cover) 

It was lend-lease which, in September 1941 after the German 
attack on the Soviet Union, made the United States an auxiliary of 
Great Britain in the task of delivering supplies to the USSR through 
the Persian Corridor. This route, joining Soviet territory to warm water 
across the mountains and deserts of Iran, was one of five by which \l l /% 
million long tons of lend-lease supplies were carried from Western 
Hemisphere ports to Soviet destinations. It is difficult to visualize Yl l /% 
million long tons in the abstract; but 2,803 ships crossed the seas to 
carry them, a fleet more than nine times as numerous as that which 
mounted the Anglo-American invasion of North Africa in November 
1942. The total tonnage figure nearly matches the 22 million long 
tons landed on the Continent of Europe for the American forces 
between January 1942 and May 1945. Russia's share of the common 
pool was therefore considerable, befitting her share in the common 
conflict. In committing munitions and equipment to the titanic defense 
of Stalingrad, the USSR knew that material losses could be mitigated 
in ever mounting quantities by future lend-lease receipts. 1 The expul- 

1 The British sent large amounts of goods and raw materials to the USSR during the latter 
half of 1941. The first American planes were shipped to Russia in September 1941; the 
first ship to leave the United States for the Persian Gulf sailed in November. "Enough sup- 
plies did get to Russia, however, to be of real value in the summer fighting of 1942." Edward 


sion of the last Nazis from Stalingrad, completed by 2 February 1943, 
removed the enemy threat to the Middle East from the north as El 
Alamein had done from the west. Supply tipped the scales in both 
batdes that saved the Middle East. Afterward, as the German armies 
withdrew from the passes of the Caucasus and receded westward round 
the Black Sea, the task of supplying Russia through the Persian Corri- 
dor increased in intensity. The change in the American role in late 
1942, from auxiliary to full partner of the British in the supply effort, 
raised the Corridor's tonnage to second place among the five routes to 
the USSR, and brought to the Persian Gulf ports nearly one fourth of 
the total lend-lease tonnage shipped to the Soviet Union from the 
Western Hemisphere. 2 

How important for the Russians Anglo-American reinforcement 
through the Persian Corridor might prove was accurately anticipated 
as early as the spring of 1942 by a German study prepared for Hitler. 
It reads, in part, as follows : 

In their endeavor to support Soviet Russia, Great Britain and the United 
States will make every effort during the coming weeks and months to increase ship- 
ment of equipment, materiel, and troops to Russia as much as possible. In particular 
the supplies reaching Russia on the Basra-Iran route will go to the Russian Caucasus 
and southern fronts. All British or American war materiel which reaches Russia by 
way of the Near East and the Caucasus is extremely disadvantageous to our land 
offensive. Every ton of supplies which the enemy manages to get through to the 
Near East means a continuous reinforcement of the enemy war potential, makes our 
own operations in the Caucasus more difficult, and strengthens the British position 
in the Near East and Egypt. 3 

Written before El Alamein and Stalingrad extinguished the German 
drive for the Middle East, the document stands as eloquent tribute to 
the effectiveness of the logistical partnership of Great Britain and the 
United States in the Persian Corridor. A few figures will indicate the 
reality Hitler feared. 

A total of 4,159,117 long tons of Russian-aid cargo was shipped 
from the Western Hemisphere to all Persian Gulf ports between No- 
vember 1941 and May 1945; but this was only a fraction of the traffic 

R. Stettinius, Jr., Lend-Lease: Weapon for Victory (New York: The Macmillan Company, 
1944), pp. 208, 215. (Quoted by permission of the publishers.) 

' (1 ) Report on War Aid Furnished by the United States to the USSR FnreignEconomic 
Sec, Office of Foreign Liquidation, Dept State, 28 Nov 45, p. 14. (2) Table s l| "2 | ind Chart 
ll2T For the five routes see Ch. XIX, pp. 432ff, below. (3) Hist Rpt, The Transportation Corps 
in the European Theater of Operations, Vol. VII, Apr, May, Jun 45, Pt. 3, Appendixes. 
ETO Admin 582, HRS DRB AGO (Historical Records Section, Departmental Records 
Branch, Adjutant General's Office). (4) British Battle Summary 38. BR 1736 (31) Operation 
"Torch," Nov 42-Feb 43, 1948, pp. 14ff. 

'Fuehrer Conferences on Matters Dealing with the German Navy 1942, Office of Naval 
Intelligence, Washington, D. C, 1946, pp. 65-66, Annex 5 to Rpt by the CinC, Navy, to the 
Fuehrer, 13 Apr 42. 


handled by British and American agencies in the area during that 
period. Supplies and equipment destined for the Soviets came also from 
Great Britain, Africa, and India ; aircraft were flown in for delivery to 
the Russians ; and over half a million long tons of petroleum products 
originating in Iran were carried north to Soviet receiving points. In 
addition to all this were the supplies to maintain the British and Ameri- 
can forces in the area, and to support large numbers of Polish refugees, 
British and American civilian agencies, and the Iranian and Iraqi ci- 
vilian economies. All told, about 7,900,000 long tons of imports were dis- 
charged at Persian Gulf ports between 1941 and 1945. Of this amount 
3,900,815 long tons, 90 percent of it destined for the USSR, were dis- 
charged at ports operated by the U.S. Army. British and American 
agencies together, between 1942 and 1945, delivered to the Soviets 
5,149,376 long tons of which the Americans accounted for 4,417,243 
long tons. The figures show that, although the British and Americans 
handled approximately equal tonnages, the bulk of Russian-aid ton- 
nage was delivered by the Americans. It has been estimated that 
American deliveries through the Persian Corridor to the USSR were 
sufficient, by U.S. Army standards, to maintain sixty combat divisions 
in the line. 4 

But while statistics furnish an accurate measure of achievement, 
they ignore the factor which made it possible and which was itself of 
equal significance. The Persian Corridor operation was an experiment 
in international co-operation with no exact parallel or historical prece- 
dent. Here was Iran, forcibly occupied by Great Britain and the 
USSR, two long-standing rivals for its control, serving as a highway 
over which one of the rivals, calling upon the assistance of a fourth 
nation, the United States, delivered supplies to the other rival, now, 
by the fortunes of war, an ally. As an American officer put the case dur- 
ing the first months of confusion, one nation was attempting to deliver 
supplies to a second nation with the occasional interference of a third 
through the country of a fourth in which none of the first three, save 

4 ( 1 ) The American share includes the weight of motor vehicles assembled in American- 
operated plants in Iran and the cargoes they hauled north to the USSR and the weight of 
aircraft assembled at the American-operated plant in Iran, as well as the petroleum uroducts 
originating in Iran and carried overland to Soviet receiving points. See Table s] lj 2| 3| 4.| 
Because of inadequate data, estimates of British accomplishment are only approxima U!. 1 my 
are taken from or based upon figures in History of the Persian Gulf Command, Historical 
Section, Office of Technical Information, Hq, PGC (cited hereafter as HOTI), Pt. VII, 
Ch. 6, Transport Routes and USSR Deliveries through the Persian Corridor, bv Ogden C. 
Reed, pp. 28, 34, 36, 39. PGF (Historical Files, Office of Technical Information, Hq, PGG, 
now at Office of the Chief of Military History). (2) Estimate in last sentence is from Opera- 
tions in the Iran-Iraq Area, address before the National War College, 18 January 1948, by 
Maj. Gen. Donald H. Connolly. 


for the war, had any business to be. But the strange combination 

Even with war needs acting as a spur, the experiment in co- 
operation was from the start both delicate and difficult. This would 
have been true had the United States not been a newcomer to an area 
recognized internationally as within the sphere of British influence. 
The United States, though long represented in the Middle East by edu- 
cational and philanthropic undertakings, had entered substantially into 
Middle Eastern commerce by way of oil only after the first world war. 
The second war found the United States unprovided with a long-range 
policy. None had been needed up to 1939 save general friendliness, 
since the United States had neither political nor military interests in 
the area. Americans were so unfamiliar with the area that, in the 
feverish planning of 1941, War Department intelligence had to turn 
for information on highways and transport routes in Iran to the Con- 
sultant in Islamic Archaeology at the Library of Congress. When the 
accident of history brought the United States to Iran, problems of 
supply called for immediate solution. Nobody asked what implications 
the future held. Action first, questions later. There would be time 
enough to learn whether America had come to the madhouse of Middle 
Eastern politics as visitor, doctor, or inmate. 

The British and the Americans 

Building docks and highways, assembling trucks and planes, running 
trains and unloading ships — these were compassable, concrete jobs. 
But the exigent, active present was haunted by the long, slothful past, 
and the past is nowhere so long as in the parched valley where Eden 
once was green and fruitful. It was to be a new experience for Ameri- 
cans, this dealing with the past as they learned to adjust themselves to 
three main stresses in the urgent present. First, there were certain British 
rights and obligations in Iraq and Iran which were applicable to Brit- 
ain's new American collaborator. Second, there were unforeseen diffi- 
culties inherent in lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union. And finally, there 
were the conditions accepted by Iran under the Anglo-Soviet 

When the first Americans reached the Persian Gulf late in 1941, 
forerunners of some 30,000 U.S. Army service troops to come, the 
British position east of Suez reflected three campaigns fought earlier 
that year. The first was in Iraq, oil-rich geographical core of the Middle 
East. Iraq had been mandated to the British after World War I at the 
carving up of the old Ottoman Empire. In 1932 the mandate had 


been terminated and Iraq became an independent state and member 
of the League of Nations. Independence had been buttressed by a treaty 
of alliance with Great Britain, signed in 1930, whereby Iraq was 
guaranteed "against external aggression." In return the treaty (revised 
in 1936) had granted Britain air bases at Habbaniya near Baghdad 
and Shu'aiba near Basra, to be occupied during the life of the treaty. 
The treaty further provided, in its fourth article, as follows : 

Should . . . either of the High Contracting Parties become engaged in war, 
the other High Contracting Party will . . . immediately come to his aid in the 
capacity of an ally. In the event of an imminent menace of War the High Con- 
tracting Parties will immediately concert together the necessary measures of defence. 
The aid of His Majesty the King of Iraq in the event of war or the imminent 
menace of war will consist in furnishing to His Britannic Majesty on Iraq territory 
all facilities and assistance in his power including the use of railways, rivers, ports, 
aerodromes and means of communication. 

The Iraqi part of the railway, connecting the Persian Gulf via Baghdad 
with the Mediterranean at Tripoli and the Bosporus at Istanbul, was 
British controlled. So was the pipeline network from the Kirkuk oil 
fields to Tripoli and Haifa. The treaty thus recognized British interest 
in the defense of an essential part of British economy. The fifth article 
of the treaty stated : 

It is understood between the High Contracting Parties that responsibility for 
the maintenance of internal order in Iraq and . . . for the defense of Iraq from 
external aggression rests with His Majesty the King of Iraq. Nevertheless His 
Majesty the King of Iraq recognizes that the permanent maintenance and protec- 
tion in all circumstances of the essential communications of His Britannic Majesty 
is in the common interest of the High Contracting Parties. For this purpose and in 
order to facilitate the discharge of the obligations to His Britannic Majesty under 
Article 4 above [air bases were granted as previously stated]. 5 

In April 1941, as a corollary of the swift German triumphs in 
Greece and Crete, a coup d'etat in Iraq deposed the pro-British Regent, 
Prince Abdul Illah, whose escape to Habbaniya and thence by air to 
Basra on 2 April was assisted by the American Legation at Baghdad. 6 
At Basra the regent was smuggled aboard H.M.S. Falmouth to await 
a more propitious time to show himself. An anti-British government 
took over. The transformation was aided by the covert and well- 
organized encouragement of German agents. The hospitality which 

* Quotations from treaty here and above from Samuel Van Valkenburg, Whose Promised 
Lands? (New York: Foreign Policy Association, Headline Series 57, May-June 1946), pp. 

" The following account draws upon History of PAI Force, revised MS, by Colonel Hutchin- 
son, Hist Sec, Cabinet Office, London (cited hereafter as PAI Force History), Pt. I, pp. 15, 
16-28, 36, 41. This manuscript, expanded and altered in some details, was published as 
PAIFORCE: The official story of the Persia and Iraq Command 1941-1946 (London: His 
Majesty's Stationery Office, 1948). 


Vichy airfields in Syria offered to German war planes may have seemed 
to Iraqi Anglophobe elements a more concrete assurance of support 
than the protection afforded Iraq under the treaty with Great Britain. 
British prestige fell. 

Nevertheless, the British moved as provided by treaty to protect 
their vital interests. By an operation planned and executed by the 
British India theater under Gen. Sir Claude J. E. Auchinleck, British 
forces, predominantly Indian, landed at Basra on 18 April and moved 
north toward the oil fields and Habbaniya. Reinforcements from India 
followed on 29 April and Gen. Sir Archibald P. Wavell, as Middle East 
theater commander, moved troops into Iraq from Palestine. Contact 
was made on 6 May south of Habbaniya between British forces and two 
infantry brigades of the Iraqi Army which suffered severe casualties. 
There was also air contact with German aircraft. What amounted to 
a siege of the British Embassy at Baghdad was lifted and the Iraqi 
forces sued on 3 1 May for an armistice. Members of the British com- 
munity who had withdrawn to the hospitality of the American Lega- 
tion came back into circulation, and on 1 June the regent returned to 
his capital from a short vacation. The crisis was surmounted in Iraq. 
Surmounted, but highly dangerous in view of the insistent pressure 
of the Axis west of Suez which only the month before had driven the 
British inside the Egyptian border at Halfaya Pass. Firm control of 
Iraq would save the Mosul-Kirkuk oil fields if the threat from the west 
were contained. There was as yet no threat from the north. Hitler had 
not yet invaded Russia. 

But there were other dangers nearer than Suez. The lurking menace 
of German intrigue and German aircraft having been subdued in Iraq, 
the British moved forthwith to root these elements out of Syria. The 
ensuing campaign, under command of Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wil- 
son, involved forces sent from Palestine by General Wavell as well as 
assistance from the Indian divisions which had occupied strategic 
points along the Iraqi line of communication between Basra and Bagh- 
dad. Begun on 8 June, it was concluded by the capitulation of the Vichy 
French signed on the anniversary of Bastille Day, 14 July. With Syria 
and Iraq now free of Axis influence, the way was cleared for the events 
which were to take place in Iran the following month. 

The Fertile Crescent, linking the Nile Delta with the head of the 
Persian Gulf, would now have been secure and the Suez Isthmus de- 
fended from the east had it not been for the wholly new danger to the 
Middle East posed by Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 
1941. His rapid and apparendy inexorable sweep eastward was to 
bring him by the year's end past Odessa to Rostov at the head of the 


Sea of Azov, It was all too apparent, even in midsummer, that he was 
driving for the Caucasus, nor did the changing fortunes of battle that 
winter reduce Allied concern lest he succeed. Success in penetrating 
that barrier and winning the Soviet oil lands lying between the Black 
and Caspian Seas would expose not only Iraq but Iran also, with its 
British oil fields in the south and vital corridor linking the USSR with 
the Persian Gulf. 

To cope with any such calamitous sequel to German penetration 
beyond the Caucasus, the Soviet Union and Great Britain, now allied 
in the common struggle, determined upon a joint invasion of Iran. With 
no illusions that they could stop the Germans in Iran if the Russians 
could not contain them north of the mountains, the British sought 
merely to delay the invader and to destroy anything useful to him. 
Moreover, Iran's despotic ruler, Reza Shah Pahlevi, was openly partial 
to the Axis cause, and the presence of some two thousand German sub- 
jects in Iran created a powerful counterweight to Allied interests there. 
Joint Anglo-Soviet military action began on 25 August, when 40,000 
Soviet troops entered Iran from the north and headed for Tehran. On 
the same day about 19,000 British troops, mostly in Indian brigades, 
entered from various directions; half of them moved straight for the 
oil fields in the neighborhood of Ahwaz, and some airborne units went 
to Abadan to protect British subjects there and the great refinery of 
the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, then the largest in the world. There 
was some slight resistance on the part of Iranian troops and some blood 
was shed. No force Iran could have brought to bear could have with- 
stood the power of the occupying armies of Britain and Russia, and, 
thanks to the recent British actions in Syria and Iraq, German help 
by air was now as far away as Crete. On 30 August identical notes were 
submitted by the invading powers to the Iranian Government which ac- 
cepted their terms on 9 September. On 16 September the Shah abdi- 
cated in favor of his son, Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, and left the coun- 
try, to die in exile in South Africa. The next day Tehran was jointly 
occupied by the British and Russians, but without show of military 
force, the troops having bypassed the city en route to barracks on the 
outskirts. Local civilian authority continued uninterruptedly. 7 

The terms imposed in September 1941 by the occupying powers 

T ( 1 ) Maj Gen Sir Francis de Guingand, Operation Victory (New York: Charles Scribner's 
Sons, 1947), pp. 87, 101. (2) India at War, 1939-1943, Hist Sec, India, pp. 77-79, 81-83, 
89. Accession 618, OCMH. (3) A Review of the Joint British-Soviet Action Against Iran, by 
Harold B. Minor, 1 Nov 41. Dept State. (4) State Dept Rpt, British Controls in Iraq, by 
Richard E. Gnade, 25 Feb 44. MID (Military Intelligence Division) 330 Great Britain, 3 
Apr 44 (12 Mar 43). (5) MA Rpts 1, 2, 3 from Baghdad, 5, 6, 10 Sep 41. MID 370.2 Great 
Britain, 9-10-41 (9-5-41 ). (6) PAI Force History, I, 57-65. 


were designed to secure the control by them of an area vital to their 
survival in the war against Germany. They disavowed any designs 
against the territorial integrity or independence of Iran and promised 
withdrawal when the military situation permitted ; and they provided 
for the co-operation of Iran in what had perforce become the common 
cause. Iran agreed to remain neutral in the war and to refrain from 
any act contrary to British or Soviet interests. These and other pro- 
visions were incorporated into a Tri-Partite Treaty of alliance which 
was signed on 29 January 1942 by Great Britain, the Soviet Union, 
and Iran. The treaty provided for withdrawal from Iranian territory of 
British and Russian troops six months after the cessation of hostilities 
against Germany and its associates. It stipulated that Iran's contri- 
bution to security was to be restricted to internal security only; and it 
provided by Article 9 that on the date fixed for withdrawal of the 
forces of the Allied Powers, the treaty would cease to be binding on 
any of its signatories. 8 

Two clauses of the treaty proved of especial significance, in the light 
of subsequent events which were to make the Persian Corridor a prin- 
cipal line of communication linking the American source of vital war 
materials with the Soviet battlefields. By Article 3 ii(b), Iran granted 
Britain and Russia "the unrestricted right to use, maintain, guard 
and, in case of military necessity, control in any way that they may 
require, all means of communications throughout Iran, including rail- 
ways, roads, rivers, aerodromes, ports, pipelines, and telephone, tele- 
graph and wireless installations. . . ." By paragraph (d) of the same 
clause, Iran agreed "to establish and maintain, in collaboration with 
the Allied Powers, such measures of censorship control as they may 
require for all the means of communication referred to in paragraph 
(b) ." Thus by September 1941 Britain in the south and Russia in the 
north found themselves firmly in control of Iranian communications. 

There were other consequences of the Anglo-Russian occupation. 
For a time following it, a considerable pro-German sentiment flour- 
ished among a population which resented the invaders and longed for 
"liberation" by Germany. Until El Alamein and Stalingrad their long- 
ings seemed all too near realization. A second consequence, likewise 
undesirable, was the division of Iran into areas of control allotted to the 
occupying powers — Russia north of Tehran, Britain south ; both at the 
capital. The numerous authorities resulting did not always work to- 
gether efficiently. But these disadvantages were far outweighed by the 

'The treaty is printed in Philip W. Ireland, ed., The Near East (Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1942: 2d impression, 1945) ; also in The Middle East, 1948 (London: Europa 
Publications, Ltd., 1948), pp. 29-30. 


value of the Corridor as a line of supply into the Soviet Union. The 
occupation, although conceived and carried out to deny the area to the 
Axis, provided a supply route to the USSR just when the north Russia 
route to Murmansk and Archangel was beginning to prove unduly 
hazardous to Allied convoys. 

So here, in September 1941, were the British and the Russians once 
again in Iran, whose occupation by their forces was the price it inno- 
cently incurred for its strategic location. It was also the price of the 
sins of Reza Shah. It was not the first time armed forces of Britain and 
Russia had invaded Iranian soil. 9 For a hundred years Russia had 
pressed upon the northern borders. Three times in the twentieth cen- 
tury Russian troops had crossed them against the Iranian people's will. 
Opposed steadily by British counterpressures, these Russian incursions 
had twice been matched in the twentieth century by the presence of 
British troops. After Napoleon, the southward sweep of Russia in 
Asia was met by Britain's strengthening her position in the North West 
Frontier Province of India, Baluchistan, and the area of the Persian 
Gulf. With only Iran, Afghanistan, and Tibet as buffers, Russia pene- 
trated culturally and economically into northern Iran and dominated 

In due course Germany's drive to the east forced Russia and Eng- 
land into each other's arms. The Convention of 1907, while affirm- 
ing the integrity and independence of Iran, virtually partitioned it 
into English and Russian spheres with a neutral zone between. So 
complete was the disregard of Iran's independence that her declared 
neutrality in the war of 1914 was ignored, while Russia, Britain, and 
Turkey made her territory their battlefield. In that period Britain used 
22,000 troops to quell a German-encouraged revolt of Iranian tribes. 

From 1907 to the Russian Revolution, Britain and Russia co- 
operated in Iran. With the revolution and Russian preoccupation with 
internal affairs, Britain seized the chance to outwit her Asiatic rival 
and negotiated with Iran the abortive Anglo-Persian treaty of 1919 
whereby Iran was to become a virtual protectorate. Even so, Bolshevist 
troops occupied the Caspian province of Gilan and did not withdraw 
until the British, realizing the Iranian Majlis would not ratify the 
proposed treaty, removed their own troops in 1921. These maneuvers, 
as Chapter IX will show, were played to off-stage gesticulations by a 
United States unhappily divided between Wilsonian advocates of inter- 

* For a panorama, from Peter the Great's occupation of Gilan in 1 724 and Catherine the 
Great's conquests of Iran's Causasian provinces, down to World War II, see George Lenczow- 
ski, Russia and the West in Iran, 1918-1948: A Study in Big-Power Rivalry (Ithaca, N. Y. : 
Cornell University Press, 1949), Introduction, pp. 1-5. 


national responsibility and those who wished to escape backward into 
"normalcy." In a world which did not at Versailles wholly abandon 
the old diplomacy for the new, a United States with no vital material 
interest in Iran could do little but gesture at a situation it protested. 
But Lansing and Wilson, if they were not heeded, were observed ; and 
the American voice, though but a stage aside in support of Iranian 
sovereignty, was heard in Britain, in the USSR, and in Iran. 

That year — 192 1 — the Soviets countered the British agreement with 
a Soviet-Iranian treaty of friendship containing an important conces- 
sion which allowed the USSR to advance troops into Iranian territory 
if any third power should threaten Iran or the Soviet Union from Ira- 
nian territory. The treaty was signed in February just after a coup 
d'etat put Reza Khan into the government for the first time. After serv- 
ing as Minister of War and Prime Minister he became Shah in 1926. 
There followed a period of iron rule during which, by borrowing Amer- 
ican and German technical skills for the improvement of the country's 
economy, and by playing off Britain and Russia against one another, 
Reza Shah made Iran relatively strong and independent. All this came 
to an end when the situation in 1941 brought about the new Anglo- 
Soviet occupation and the tripartite alliance of January 1942 with its 
guarantee of Iranian integrity and of withdrawal of foreign troops after 
the cessation of hostilities. Uneasy as the alliance was in the area of 
ancient rivalry, it was no combination, as in 1907, of two strong powers 
to exploit a weaker. The spirit of 1941 was one of co-operation in com- 
mon defense. When Britain called upon the United States to aid her, 
the spirit was significantly fortified. American aid in the Corridor 
proved important not only in the supply task but also politically as a 
kind of counterweight in the intricate clockwork of a troubled area. 10 

Events which preceded the American arrival in 1941 had strained 
British resources in both regional areas of the Middle East. The sup- 
pression of the pro-German revolt in Iraq, completed in May 1941, 
left the British forces in control of the line of communications running 
between their treaty bases near Basra and near Baghdad ; but in that 
same month the Germans were occupying Crete and were driving 
British forces back in the North African fighting inside the border of 
Egypt. The newly passed Lend-Lease Act having provided a pro- 
cedural framework for American aid, conversations were going for- 
ward in London between the British Joint Planning Staff and members 

u (1 ) R&A 1206, Conflicts and Agreements of Interest of the United Nations in the Near 
East, 10 Jan 44, Research and Analysis Br, Office of Strategic Services. (2) Middle East Oil 
a Vital Military Factor, 21 Dec 45. MIS MID WD (Military Intelligence Service, Military 
Intellgence Division, War Department), 


of an American Special Observer Group under Maj. Gen. James E. 
Chaney. The object of the conversations was to determine where and 
how American aid could be effectively applied in that dark spring. 
Prominently under study was the Middle East ; but because it was less 
in need than the area west of Suez, the Persian Gulf area of the Middle 
East was scarcely mentioned. 11 

Previous to the German invasion of the USSR, the commander of 
British forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Sir E. P. Quinan, arriving at Basra 
early in May, had been directed by GHQ, India, to secure the line of 
communications, and to provide for the maintenance of "such forces 
as may be required to operate in the Middle East, including Egypt, 
Turkey, Iraq. . . ." 12 Hitler's sweep across Russia in the summer led 
to the enlargement of General Quinan's responsibilities. He was not 
only to maintain the Basra-Baghdad line of communications, with such 
port development as that entailed, but was to provide for maintenance 
of ten divisions, increased from the three of his original directive; and 
he was to prepare against invasion of Iraq via either Anatolia or the 
Caucasus. The events in Syria in June and July and the occupation of 
Iran in August measurably expanded the British task. When in Sep- 
tember General Wilson took over command of the newly designated 
Persia and Iraq Force (PAI Force), his Tenth Army included 3 corps 
headquarters, 7 infantry divisions, 1 armored division, 1 independent 
armored brigade, 1 independent motor brigade, and some antiaircraft 
artillery. With more area to defend, more troops had to be maintained. 
Not until early 1943, after El Alamein and Stalingrad, was it possible 
to reduce British defensive strength or base installations in Iran. 

The new German threat from the north to the British position in 
Iraq in midsummer 1941 brought that country into Anglo-American 
discussions of aid to Britain in the Middle East. In July President 
Franklin D. Roosevelt dispatched W. Averell Harriman, who visited the 
British bases in Iraq and informed himself on the defense of the oil 
fields. At that time British responsibilities were confined to security 
and communications, and American aid was being considered on the 
basis of those British responsibilities. The Anglo-Soviet occupation of 
Iran in August and the feasibility of opening there a new supply route 

11 The Special Observer Group Prior to the Activation of the European Theater of Opera- 
tions, October 1944, pp. 25, 27, 40, 41, 51-52, 77, 80, 81-83, Hist Sec, ETO. Study 
superseded by The Predecessor Commands: The Special Observers and United States Army 
Forces in the British Isles, by Warrant Officer (jg) Henry G. Elliott, Part I of The Admin- 
istrative and Logistical History of the European Theater of Operations. 

12 This and the following paragraph draw upon PAI Force History, I, 28, 46, 72-74, and 
II, 26. 


to Russia further extended British responsibilities and, as a corollary, 
the scope of American aid. Without waiting for the acceptance by the 
Iranian Government of the terms submitted to it in the identical notes 
of 30 August, the British Government promptly charged the United 
Kingdom Commercial Corporation with procurement of commodities 
for the USSR and their delivery through the Persian Corridor. The 
British task now embraced not only security and communications but 
supply to the Soviet Union. It was immediately recognized that in this 
new undertaking the Iranian State Railway (ISR) would play a vital 
role. After informally ascertaining from President Roosevelt American 
willingness to help in equipping the railway, Prime Minister Winston 
Churchill, through a cable from Lord Beaverbrook to the Messrs. 
Harry Hopkins and Harriman, on 6 September expressed the hope 
that the United States would send certain quantities of locomotives 
and freight cars inasmuch as the best available route into the Soviet 
Union during the winter months was that via the ISR. 13 

At the same time the London War Office instructed the British 
Supply Council in North America in details of similar requests to be 
made direct to the fountainhead of lend-lease in Washington, empha- 
sizing the needs for the ISR as the most pressing transportation require- 
ment in the entire Middle East. The ensuing memorandum, presented 
by E. P. Taylor, Chairman of the British Supply Council, to the Divi- 
sion of Defense Aid Reports in Washington, 14 while dealing mainly 
with requirements for the hard-pressed Red Sea area and Egypt, 
embodied in its final paragraph the British intention of raising the 
capacity of the ISR from 200 tons to 2,000 tons per day, and of the 
Iranian highways to 12,000 tons per month. The expanded highway 
program was needed to supplement rail haulage in a country whose 
aridity set limitations on the use of the steam locomotives then planned 
for and on order. On 10 September Brig. Gen. George R. Spalding 

" Rad 4105, American Ambassador, London, from Beaverbrook to Hopkins and Harriman, 
6 Sep 41. Iran 44/1.2, NADEF (North Atlantic Division Engineer Files, New York). Another 
copy PGF 242. 

"The Division of Defense Aid Reports, created 2 May 1941 by Executive Order 8751, 
was an instrument within the civilian executive agency, the Office for Emergency Manage- 
ment, designed to take over all the administrative details of the lend-lease program, to clear 
transactions and reports, and to co-ordinate the processing of requests for aid submitted by 
foreign countries. Its first executive officer was Maj. Gen. James H. Burns, with whom were 
associated Brig. Gens. Sidney P. Spalding and George R. Spalding, as heads of the Production 
Section and the Shipping and Storage Section respectively. Eventually the Division of Defense 
Aid Reports was abolished by the executive order of 28 October 1941 which created the 
Lend-Lease Administration. ( 1 ) A Brief Historical Statement, Records Analysis Div, Office 
of Budget and Adm Planning, Foreign Economic Administration, 10 May 44, p. 5. (2) Stet- 
tinius, Lend-Lease, p. 96. (3) WD Cir 59, par. 8, 2 Mar 42. (4) Ann Rpt, SOS, 30 Jun 42, 
p. 15. 


requested that the ISR be made an approved lend-lease project under 
aid to Britain." 

Meanwhile, the conversations held in London the previous May 
regarding lend-lease aid to the British in the Middle East had been 
evolving machinery for rendering that aid. On 1 1 September the War 
Department notified General Chaney that, "to comply with the desires 
of the British Government," it contemplated setting up supply and 
maintenance depots in the Middle East. 16 Two days later, a presidential 
directive to the Secretary of War to render lend-lease aid to Great 
Britain in the Middle East embodied the principles of the message to 
Chaney and set in motion the plans which had been brewing since 
spring. Though the plans were the product of many minds, the Middle 
East Directive of 13 September 1941 bears the stamp of the President's 
peculiar skill in sensing public opinion. Where the draft presented to 
him had borne the words "expressed wishes" of the British Govern- 
ment, the President's pen had substituted the words "expressed needs." 
This slight but significant change recognized both the undoubted need 
of aid and the equally ponderable sensibilities of a part of the American 

Two salient features of the Middle East Directive need under- 
scoring at this point: first, the method by which it was proposed to 
furnish the aid ; and second, the strictly auxiliary status of American 
aid. Under the first point, the directive made plain that the aid was to 
be furnished not by an expeditionary force, but through the Defense 
Aid Division of the War Department." This consideration, made ex- 
pedient by the fact of continued American military neutrality, con- 
fined the war aid to be furnished Britain to the economic sphere and 
determined that, though under Army supervision, it was to be furnished 
by private contract and civilian personnel. Second, the status of Ameri- 
can aid was determined by the method, whereby the British were to 
requisition the War Department for aid through the Defense Aid 

" (1) AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 1, under dates 5, 6, 10, and 23 Sep 41. (2) Memo, 
10 Sep 41. Iran 44/1.2, NADEF. For estimates see also Memo, Gen George Spalding, 23 
Sep 41, sub: Trans Facilities in Iran. PGF 122. 

M Rad 49, WD to Gen Chaney, 1 1 Sep 41. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41 ) Sec 1. 

" (1) Memo for Secy War, 13 Sep 41. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 1. (2) The draft 
presented to the President was agreed upon by General Burns, Averell Harriman, and Harry 
Hopkins in Hopkins' office, later approved "in principle" by the War Department, and for- 
warded 9 September by Burns to Hopkins for Roosevelt. Memo, Burns for Hopkins, 9 Sep 
41. WPD 4596 to -15 Iran (Persia), HRS DRB AGO. 

"Established 8 April 1941 within the Office of the Under Secretary of War "to coordi- 
nate the functioning of the War Department," under the Lend-Lease Act, it was placed under 
the Commanding General, Services of Supply, effective 9 March 1942, and designated the 
International Division. On 1 October 1941 Col. H. S. Aurand became director. (1) Office 
Order, Secy War, 8 Apr 41. Folder 2, Drawer 3, Cabinet 65, Lend-Lease File — England, 
Defense Aid Papers, Intn Div. (2) See n. 14 above. 


director in accordance with normal lend-lease procedure. "The British 
authorities should be consulted," the directive stated, "on all details 
as to location, size, and character of depots and transport facilities. 
Their needs should govern." The auxiliary status of the Americans was 
thus clearly established. 

Some indication of the scale of the September planning for the 
Persian Corridor, even in this early and tentative stage, appears in a 
memorandum prepared for Harry Hopkins: 

The entrance of Russia into the war has given the Iranian theater urgent 
priority. The demands of the new theater are tremendous — 250,000 ship tons of 
railroad material in one project, more than the total shipments to the Middle East 
to date, requiring from 50 to 75 ships, with the distance so great that only three 
trips a year can be made. A big automotive project is superimposed on the railroad 
project. Diversions of material hitherto destined for Egypt are being made to the 
new theater. 19 

If there had been any thought in the War Department that the 
Persian Corridor aid could be administered under the Middle East 
Directive through General Chaney's mission in London, or even 
through a War Department mission for the entire Middle East, a War 
Plans Division paper disposed of it. It was urged that, in view of the 
"rapidly changing Russian situation with the threat of a German 
offensive south through Turkey," the need of extensive supply facilities, 
not only for the British in the Persian Gulf area now commanded by 
General Wavell from India, but also for the support of the Soviet 
Union, called for the establishment of a separate American military 
mission. It was therefore recommended that an independent Iranian 
mission be formed under "an officer of broad engineering experience," 
and on 27 September Col. Raymond A. Wheeler, Acting Assistant 
Chief of Staff, G-4, who had served as Engineer of Maintenance of the 
Panama Canal and as Acting Governor of the Canal Zone, and who 
was a specialist in rail and highway matters, was appointed Chief, 
United States Military Iranian Mission. At the same time a parallel 
mission, the United States Military North African Mission, Brig. Gen. 
Russell L. Maxwell, Chief, with headquarters at Cairo, was set up 
to aid the British forces under General Auchinleck. These two missions 
were designed to carry out the responsibilities for implementing lend- 
lease aid to Britain in the Middle East which President Roosevelt had 
laid upon the Secretary of War in his directive of 13 September. 20 

"Memo, Gen Sidney Spalding for Harry Hopkins [n. d., but after 18 Sep 41]. Iran 43/1, 

30 (1) Memo, signed by Col Robert W. Crawford, Actg ACofS, WPD, 24 Sep 41. AG 
400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. Another copy Iran 2/8, NADEF. (2) Ltr, 27 Sep 41, sub: 
Iranian Mission. AG 400.3295 (9-26-41). Another copy AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 1. 
Wheeler was promoted to brigadier general on 29 September 1941. 


That directive, however, had specifically confined itself to aid to 
the British, and it was under its provisions that the Iranian Mission was 
established on 27 September to support the British forces in the Persian 
Corridor. But in this area, aid to Britain meant participation, on the 
supply side, in two different British responsibilities, namely, security 
of the line of communications (a vital part of a third British responsi- 
bility, defense against invasion) and supply to the Soviet Union. This 
indirect responsibility for Russian aid differentiated the two missions, 
the Iranian and the North African, which were established under the 
Middle East Directive. 

Almost simultaneously, instructions were handed to British and 
American commanders in the field which recognized the Russian task 
in so many words. After a conference at Baghdad in September be- 
tween General Wavell for India and General Auchinleck for Middle 
East, General Quinan's directive was widened to include taking "steps 
to develop such road, rail, and river communications as are necessary 
to ensure . . . the maximum possible delivery of supplies to Russia." n 
And on 21 October the Secretary of War instructed Wheeler, now a 
brigadier general, "to assure the timely establishment and operation 
of supply, maintenance and training facilities as required by present 
and contemplated British, Russian and other friendly operations within 
or based upon" his area. 

In the years that followed, it was to be the destiny of the Iranian Mis- 
sion and its successors to be primarily concerned with the Russian- 
supply aspects of British aid, rather than with the strengthening of Brit- 
ish communications for area defense. But at the beginning, although 
lumped with British and other friendly operations, the Russian-aid 
aspect of this mission was not stressed. Indeed, in describing the two 
Middle East missions to the Secretary of State in a letter of 30 October, 
the Secretary of War referred only to "contemplated British opera- 
tions." Russia was unnamed. Such an omission suggests either a 
politic underemphasis or imperfect information. Neither explanation 
suffices. The plain fact is that aid to Russia was necessarily being set up 
as a part of aid to Britain. Why was this so? 22 

" (1) PAI Force History, I, 66, 70. The published version, page 74, says October. (2) 
Generals Auchinleck and Wavell exchanged commands earlier in the year. 

" (1) Ltr, Secy War to Gen Wheeler, 21 Oct 41, sub: Ltr of Instructions. AG 400.3295 
(9-26-41). Another copy Iran 4/4, NADEF. (2) Ltr, Secy War to Secy State, 30 Oct 41. 
AG 400.3295 (9 Aug 41 ) Sec 1. 


The Russians and the Americans 

The main reason was that Britain, enjoying treaty rights in Iraq 
and Iran, had requested neutral American aid in the field of supply. 
Furthermore, not only was the United States neutral, but the Soviet 
Union had not yet been declared eligible for lend-lease aid. Yet in the 
face of clear and urgent need to utilize the Persian Corridor supply 
route to the USSR, and in view of the British machinery at hand, the 
means adopted under the presidential directive for Middle East 
aid to Britain were the most practicable. Behind the continued in- 
eligibility of Russia for lend-lease aid lay intangibles which added 
immensely to the material difficulties in establishing the new supply 

The relations of the Americans to the British in the Corridor were 
conditioned by the responsibilities of the British in that area. They 
were also conditioned by the relations of the Americans to the Russians. 
Aid to the Soviet Union, catapulted into American public concern by 
the German invasion, created political puzzles more baffling than those 
inherent in aid to Britain. During the debate over the adoption of 
lend-lease, objections to British aid had stemmed largely from Anglo- 
phobia, but even Anglophobes knew instinctively that the force of logic 
behind such help was inescapable. Hitler's attack of 22 June 1941 
caught the American people completely unprepared in their minds. 
Always stronger on the side of championing the weak against the strong 
than on the side of viewing situations with the cold perspective of, say, 
the professional strategist or European diplomatist, the American 
people in 1941 were still shocked and grieved over the Russo-Finnish 
War of 1939-40 which resulted in expulsion of the USSR from the 
League of Nations. One summer the Soviet building at the New York 
World's Fair had been "the" spot to visit; the next summer, the build- 
ing had vanished, and with it nearly every trace of Soviet-American 
good feeling. It was inevitable that, reflecting this drastic shift in 
public opinion and buttressed by the Hitler-Stalin pact of August 1939, 
the policy of the American Government toward the Soviet Union 
should have been one of austere aloofness tinged with suspicion. The 
American people, having gradually come to admire the postrevolution- 
ary Russian people and having suffered a violent revulsion following 
the Soviet attack on Finland, now, in June of 1941, were stunned and 
puzzled. It was difficult for them to make another about-face over- 
night and suddenly champion the newly attacked USSR. Soon after 
Hitler's invasion a former American ambassador to the Soviet Union 


publicly proclaimed that country's government "a godless tyranny, 
the sworn enemy of all free peoples of the earth." 23 

The delicacy of the American Government's position, even as late as 
the date of the formation of the Iranian Mission, was therefore reflected 
in the somewhat indirect approach that mission took toward the prob- 
lem of Soviet aid. Inasmuch as the United States was still militarily a 
neutral and the Soviet Union not yet officially eligible for lend-lease, the 
mission, while undertaking to aid Great Britain and Russia, was to pro- 
ceed to aid the latter by aiding Britain. The reasons were not only that 
the southern part of the Persian Corridor was under British authority by 
virtue of the Anglo-Soviet occupation of August 1941 and that Ameri- 
can forces were going in as an economic auxiliary furnished under 
military auspices by a neutral friend. The indirection as to aid to the 
Soviet Union was also still politically necessary in September, and 
requires further explanation. 

For a considerable period prior to the sudden German attack, the 
Soviet Union, along with the Axis Powers and Vichy France, had been 
subject to economic blockade by the Allied Powers. The United States 
had set up machinery for waging economic warfare and after the con- 
clusion of the Hitler-Stalin pact had taken various measures against 
the Russians. Only the week before the attack upon the Soviet Union 
the United States Treasury had frozen forty million dollars of Soviet 
credits, and as late as 20 June reports of leakage in the economic 
blockade against the Soviet Union had been discussed by members of 
General Chaney's Special Observer Group in London as among dis- 
turbing elements in the Middle East picture. 24 

When the attack came, Prime Minister Churchill, in an early 
broadcast to his people referring to Hitler as "this bloodthirsty gutter- 
snipe," pledged British aid to the Soviet Union. The American official 
reaction was bound to be slower in the light of the shock to public 
opinion a similar announcement would have caused. 25 The next day, 
23 June — with a background of gloomy predictions in the newspapers 
that the German armies would smash through to the Black Sea in a 
few weeks, consolidate their supply lines, and drive on through the 
Caucasus to Iraq and Iran — The New York Times, in a front-page 
article headed, "Washington Waits," stated, somewhat cryptically, 

23 William C. Bullitt, in accepting a degree from the University of Montreal. Washington 
Post, July 15, 1941. 

M Rpt cited n. 1 1, especially p. 41. 

' 5 (1) On the difficulty of proclaiming immediate support and of expanding aid there- 
after until public opinion caught up, see Foster Rhea Dulles, The Road to Teheran: The Story 
of Russia and America, 1781-1943 (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1945), Ch. 
XIV passim, especially p. 232. (2) See also n. 36 below. 


"If Britain wants the United States to extend lend-lease aid the attempt 
will be made." As for official utterance, the government contented 
itself with Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles' statement of that 
same day, "Hitler's armies are today the chief dangers of the Ameri- 
cas." One day later the President was quoted indirectly in a press 
conference as prepared to implement the policy announced by Welles ; 
but the President's remarks, mainly anti-Hitler, stressed American 
inability, through prior commitments to Britain, to be of much present 
help to the Soviets. After all, the United States was still a nonbelliger- 
ent. But that same day, the 24th, the Times quietly reported release of 
the Soviet credits frozen ten days before. 

The Department of State did not share the shock and surprise of 
the less well informed general public. It had long been formulating a 
policy of American aid in case Germany attacked the Soviet Union, 
and when the attack came it was ready with recommendations for 
reconsideration of restrictive anti-Soviet export control regulations. 
Then on 9 July the President told Sumner Welles that he was anxious 
to send Russia substantial aid at once, preferably before October, when 
winter would interfere with transportation. The Department of State 
set to work to devise a modus operandi for handling requests from the 
Soviet ambassador outside the established machinery of lend-lease, 
which, for obvious political reasons, could not yet be extended to the 
Soviet Union. 28 

By mid- July a committee had been created, consisting of the Soviet 
ambassador, the chairman of the British Supply Council in North 
America, 27 and Harry Hopkins, the moving spirit in lend-lease affairs 
and the President's deputy in their administration. Hopkins' dramatic 
flight from Great Britain to Moscow via Archangel, bearing to Stalin 
a reassuring message from Roosevelt, bridged far more than the vast 
distances of land and sea that separated those two chiefs of state. In 
his conversations, following his arrival at Moscow on 30 July, Hopkins 
obtained from the Russians a detailed statement of their supply needs. 
He also won their confidence to an extent not hitherto achieved by 
others; and he returned to Washington equipped to speed the ma- 

M For this and following paragraphs, see The Role of the Department of State in Con- 
nection with the Lend-Lease Program, Manuscript prepared in the Division of Research and 
Publication, Department of State, by George M. Fennemore, May 1943, pp. 205, 208, 

17 Arthur B. Purvis, a Canadian whose death in an RAF Ferry Command flight accident 
while en route to join Churchill at the Atlantic Conference ended a close and fruitful asso- 
ciation with Harry Hopkins. See Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate 
History (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), p. 373. 


chinery of Russian aid. An early sequel to Moscow was a joint Churchill- 
Roosevelt statement of 5 August regarding aid to the Soviets. 28 

Meanwhile, on 1 2 July, Maj . Gen. James H. Burns of the Division 
of Defense Aid Reports brought to Washington for consultation Col. 
Philip R. Faymonville, who had served from 1934 to 1939 as United 
States Military Attache in Moscow, winning from Ambassador Joseph 
E. Davies praise for his "unusual good judgment," a quality called for 
particularly in the newly developing Soviet-American relationship. 
"He speaks Russian fluently," Mr. Davies wrote, "and apparently is 
most highly thought of by the leaders of the Army here," that is, in 
Moscow. 29 

Shortly after reaching Washington, Faymonville joined Burns' staff 
and was useful in receiving the Soviet Military Mission which arrived 
in the capital on 23 July. He was also present at a series of conferences 
held in the office of Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy from 
9 to 1 1 August to determine the extent of American aid and the means 
of furnishing it. 30 The policy arrived at was that no War Department 
materials could be made available to the Union of Soviet Socialist 
Republics without prior release by the British of materials allocated to 
them. Since the British were committed to aid Russia, the question 
became one of three-cornered negotiations, with the arrangement of 
quantities and priorities subject to three valid points of view with the 
Americans in the middle. A sampling of October cables and letters will 
indicate how the machinery worked. 31 On 3 October a consignment of 
tanks went off to the Soviet Union by arrangement with the United 
Kingdom, whose quotas were affected by the amounts diverted to 
Russia. On 24 October the Assistant Secretary of War wrote the Sec- 
retary of State on the procedure adopted for speeding shipments to 
Russia of goods originally contracted for by the United Kingdom. 
On 29 October General Chaney in Washington cabled his Army 
Special Observer Group in London that the Anglo-American agree- 
ment (Balfour- Arnold) on aviation aid, approved by the Secretary of 
War on 28 October, corresponded exactly with the previous agreements 
with the Soviet authorities. 

In September the President sent Averell Harriman, his special rep- 
resentative in London on material aid to the British Empire, to Moscow 

38 The message to Stalin is given in full in Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 321-22. 

M Ltr by Davies, 20 Mar 37. Abstract PGF 262. Faymonville became a brigadier general 
on 1 February 1942. 

30 AG 400.3295 (8-14^1) Sec 1. Among those present were Maj. Gen. Richard C. Moore, 
Deputy Chief of Staff, and Colonel Aurand of G-4, War Department General Staff, supply 

81 AG 400.3295 (8-14-41) Sec 1. 


for important three-cornered conferences there with a Soviet commis- 
sion under Foreign Minister Vyacheslav M. Molotov and a British 
group under Lord Beaverbrook. Travel orders naming the expedition 
the Special Mission for War Supplies to the Union of Soviet Socialist 
Republics were made out for Mr. Harriman, General Burns, Colonel 
Faymonville, acting as secretary, Admiral William H. Standley, shortly 
thereafter to become American Ambassador to Moscow, William L. 
Batt of William S. Knudsen's Office of Production Management, and 
General Chaney. 32 The discussion following, in which Marshal Joseph 
V. Stalin participated on three occasions, produced the signing at 
Moscow on 1 October by Beaverbrook, Harriman, and Molotov of 
the First (Moscow) Protocol, described as "a binding promise by this 
Government to make specific quantities of supplies available for ship- 
ment to Russia by a specific date." 33 

The Moscow Protocol was the first of four similar instruments for 
aid to Russia. It called for shipment from the United States through 
30 June 1942 of roughly a million and a half tons of supplies. The 
Second (Washington) Protocol, signed 6 October 1942 and covering 
the period to 1 July 1943, promised 3,300,000 tons to be shipped by 
the northern Russian ports and 1,100,000 via the Persian Gulf route. 
The Third (London) Protocol, running through 30 June 1944, prom- 
ised 2,700,000 tons via the Pacific route and 2,400,000 by either the 
northern Russian ports or the Persian Gulf. It was signed 19 October 
1943. The Fourth (Ottawa) Protocol, signed 17 April 1945, promised 
2,700,000 tons via Pacific routes and 3,000,000 via Atlantic routes 
including the Persian Gulf and the route into the Black Sea, then newly 
available. It covered the period to 12 May 1945. These protocols were 
definite commitments on the diplomatic level, different from those 
given to any other lend-lease recipients. While they contained escape 
clauses, President Roosevelt was always intensely concerned that they 
be honored to the letter. Behind every other circumstance that was to 
affect the supply program which the United States was to undertake 
in the Persian Corridor stood the protocols and the inflexible necessity 
of meeting their tonnage promises, come what may. 34 

"AG 400.3295 (8-14-41 ) Sec 3. The travel orders were of 6 Sep 41. Information from 
Memo, Harriman for CofS, 4 Sep 41 ; and from the Role of the Department of State cited 
n. 26. 

33 Stettinius, Lend-Lease, p. 205. (Quoted by permission of The Macmillan Company.) 
The United States made good its word by the stated date, 30 June 1942. 

34 (1) Rpt cited n. 2(1). (2) Lend-lease to the USSR is fully treated by Robert W. 
Coakley in chapters on international supply before Pearl Harbor, in R. M. Leighton and 
Coakley, Logistical Support of Overseas Theaters, a volume in this series now in preparation. 
(3) The protocols are published in Soviet Supply Protocols, Wartime International Agree- 
ments, Department of State, Publication 2759, European Series 22. 


The commitment of October 1941 had been carefully prepared for 
by the President's statement to Congress on 1 1 September, "The Soviet 
Government's purchases here are being made with its own funds 
through its regular purchasing agency." 35 This statement followed 
the making available on 24 August of five billion dollars for lend-lease 
expenditures, from which the Soviet Union was excluded. At the time 
of the Moscow Protocol, the situation was that the United States had 
joined Britain in pledging almost unlimited aid, that much could be 
done through lend-lease aid to Britain, and that it was by then apparent 
that the President deemed the American public not unfavorable to 
Russian aid. 36 

So far, Russian supply was on a cash basis. During September- 
October, for instance, the United States loaned the USSR ninety 
million dollars with which on 21 October to purchase ammunition 
then available in the United States. 37 In an exchange of messages be- 
tween Roosevelt and Stalin of 30 October and 4 November respectively, 
the United States agreed to advance one billion dollars to Russia to be 
repaid without interest over a 10-year period, commencing five years 
after the end of the war. The arrangement was in accordance with the 
Soviet's expressed preference and was similar to that granted the 
Netherlands and Iceland, which paid cash for aid procured, for effi- 
ciency's sake, through the usual lend-lease channels. On 7 November 
1941 the Soviet Union was officially declared eligible for lend-lease 
as a nation whose defense was vital to the defense of the United States. 
When a second billion was allocated to the Russians on 20 February 
1942, the President took steps to formulate an agreement for repay- 
ment in kind, to allay Soviet fears that they would have to repay in 
dollars. Signed 1 1 June, this became the Master Agreement, super- 
seding the first billion loan arranged. 38 

The financial aspects have been labored at this point for two reasons. 
First, their complexity was largely a product of the political difficulties 
of launching the program in the face of American opinion toward the 

"Second Report under the Act of March 11, 1941 (Lend-Lease Act) (Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1941), Letter of Transmittal, p. IV. 

" Early in September Harry Hopkins wrote Brendan Bracken, Minister of Information in 
the English cabinet: "We are having some difficulty with our public opinion with regard 
to Russia. The American people don't take aid to Russia easily. The whole Catholic popula- 
tion is opposed to it, all the Nazis, all the Italians and a lot of people who sincerely believe 
that Stalin is a great menace to the world. Still I think it will come out all right in the end." 
Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 372-73. 

•' The Role of the Department of State cited n. 26, pp. 218-19. 

38 (1) The Role of the Department of State, pp. 220-22. (2) Report to Congress on 
Lend-Lease Operations for Year Ended March 11, 1942 (Washington: Government Printing 
Office, 1942), p. 34. (3) Stettinius, Lend-Lease, p. 130. (4) As of June 1951 the USSR had 
not yet settled its lend-lease account with the United States. 


Soviet Union before Hitler's attack. Second, Soviet property rights over 
the goods shipped had been first determined when the Soviet Union 
was purchasing on a cash basis. These rights, carried over into the lend- 
lease period, gave rise to much of the friction that developed later 
during the stages of shipment and delivery for they permitted the Soviet 
agents to exact the most scrupulous adherence to the letter of their 
bond at every stage of the process. 39 

The severity of Soviet inspections can be traced quite as much to 
these financial arrangements as to their national traits. In this connec- 
tion it must be borne in mind that the Russians enforced upon their own 
people equally strict personal responsibility all along the chain of com- 
mand. Their readiness to punish individuals of their own forces who 
passed inferior goods became legendary among the Americans who 
worked with them in the field. It is unrealistic to deplore the Slav's lack 
of easygoing Anglo-Saxon adaptability. 40 

After the signing of the protocol it was decided, on the recommen- 
dation of Harry Hopkins, to leave in Moscow an American repre- 
sentative of lend-lease who had been a member of the Special Mission 
for War Supplies to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which had 
negotiated the protocol. Colonel Faymonville, secretary of the mis- 
sion, thus remained for some years as chief of the special mission, first 
in his capacity as a representative of the Division of Defense Aid Re- 
ports, thereafter as a member of the Lend-Lease Administration. 41 
To the Iranian Mission, authorized to render aid to Great Britain, the 
Soviet Union, and other friendly powers in the Persian Corridor, and 
to the civilian lend-lease mission in Russia, the War Department added 
a second military mission charged with aiding the Soviets. This was 
the United States Military Mission to the Union of Soviet Socialist 

89 Rad AMPSG 466, Lt Gen Brehon Somervell to Gen Connolly, 26 Mar 43. 400.3295 
Lend-Lease Russia, SL (Material formerly filed in Persian Gulf Service Command 
boxes at St. Louis, now filed at the Kansas City Records Center, AGO, Kansas City, Mo.) 
9021 : "Your records should operate with the assumption that British and American authori- 
ties are acting as agents, expediters and forwarders for the Russians and that the goods 
handled are property of the Russians. ... As soon as the vessels are loaded in American 
ports the goods become Soviet property." 

40 Maj. Gen. John N. Greely, in "Iran in Wartime," National Geographic Magazine, 84 
(1943) 141, describes the barbed-wire enclosure where acres of American-built motor 
vehicles were guarded by Soviet troops with orders to shoot all unauthorized intruders. 

" In a memorandum of 30 September, prepared for the Chief of Staff by Brig. Gen. 
Sherman Miles, G— 2, opposition was expressed to Faymonville's staying on in Moscow. The 
Deputy Chief of Staff, General Moore, however, wished Faymonville to stay (memorandum 
of 4 October). For fuller treatment of War Department differences of opinion concerning 
Faymonville, see Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pages 395-96. In Volume I of the 
Manuscript Index to the Hopkins Papers (under Book IV, Harriman-Beaverbrook Mission, 
page 6, Item 1 9 ) is noted a letter from Hopkins to Secretary of State Cordell Hull, 4 October 
1941, transmitting a radio to the U.S. Embassy in Russia designating Faymonville as U.S. 
lend-lease representative in the USSR. 


Republics, established on 5 November, with Maj. Gen. John N. Greely 
as chief. 12 

The Iranians and the Americans 

The United States Military Iranian Mission and the United States 
Military Mission to the USSR formalized the logistical partnership 
entered into before Pearl Harbor between neutral America and bel- 
ligerent Britain and Russia. But there was a fourth partner, Iran, whose 
role it was to smile appreciatively while the bigger fellows tramped 
up and down in her house. To be sure, the presence of British and 
Soviet forces, backed by the tripartite agreement, provided Iran with 
a protection against the Axis which she did not herself possess, whether 
or not she might have wished to use it. The large matter of external 
security was thus taken care of, and neither the Americans nor the 
Iranians were concerned with it. 

Internal security, though also an assumed responsibility of the 
occupying powers — the United States was not at any time during the 
war an occupying power in Iran — was another matter. Protection 
of trains and truck convoys against marauding tribesmen, patrol of 
tracks, roads, docks against sabotage, vigilance against pilferage — 
these primarily local functions should theoretically be performed by 
the Iranian authorities, lest a populace made hostile by foreign sur- 
veillance become itself a rearward threat to communications. 

In the fall of 1941 the forces at Iran's disposal were inadequate to 
assume so staggering a task of policing as the ambitious supply plans 
of the Allies involved. Although the Allies permitted Iran in September 
1941 to break off diplomatic relations with certain of the Axis Powers, 
it was two years before they allowed that country to declare war 
against Germany. Meanwhile, the Allies discouraged development of 
military power by Iran. These were policies and decisions in which 
the United States as an auxiliary remained silent. But there was a 
feeling in some quarters that the Iranian partner in the logistical task 
might relish a less passive role than that of the appreciative smile 
originally called for by the script of 1941. It was less a problem in 
logistics and security than in diplomacy. 

After American entrance into the war Iran's eligibility for lend- 
lease, declared on 10 March 1942, offered a fresh approach. The 

"This mission is not to be confused with that of the same name {1 November 1943-31 
October 1945) under Maj. Gen. John R. Deane for the purpose of establishing American 
airfields for shuttle bombing at Poltava, Mirgorod, and Piryatin in the Ukraine. John R. 
Deane, The Strange Alliance: The Story of Our Efforts at Wartime Co-operation with 
Russia (New York: The Viking Press, 1947). 


establishment in that year of two additional American military mis- 
sions, one to advise Iran on certain matters affecting its Army, the other 
to reorganize and command its Gendarmerie, brought Iran, though on 
a modest scale, into direct partnership with the United States. These 
missions also brought the United States for the first time directly into 
the four-sided Corridor partnership. 

The advisory missions, under Maj. Gen. Clarence S. Ridley and 
Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf respectively, performed two important 
functions. By aiding Iran's ability to preserve law and order along the 
supply line, they helped the lend-lease operations. But even more 
importantly, by demonstrating American concern for Iranian sover- 
eignty, they contributed something new to the historic situation, easing, 
if only briefly, dangerous tensions. 

One thing remains to note before commencing an account of the 
American effort in the Persian Corridor. It was not like the historical 
facts of enemy threat, Allied need, American planning, tonnages de- 
livered. It could not be felt, as a swirling sandstorm is felt ; it was not 
visible as were swarms of stevedores unloading ships, or convoys of 
trucks creeping through snow-choked mountains. It was a thing as 
intangible as discouragement, as impalpable as heat. 

It was a spirit shaped by diplomatists and expressed by the sheer 
obstinacy of men's guts, a spirit animated by Roosevelt, who "con- 
sidered Iran as something of a testing ground for the Atlantic Charter 
and for the good faith of the United Nations." iS 

" Rad 462, Stettinius to American Embassy, Tehran, 31 Jul 44. State Dept Cable Book, 
Near East, Iran. 


Year of Confusion 

The American Army served in the Persian Corridor just over four 
years. In November 1941 officers of the U.S. Military Iranian Mission 
reached Basra. On the last day of 1945, not regretfully, the remnant 
of what was then called the Persian Gulf Service Command sailed 
away from Khorramshahr. Behind them the forces of Britain and the 
USSR remained in uneasy watchfulness while in the chancelleries of 
Moscow and London diplomats debated what date the Tri-Partite 
Treaty had appointed for Anglo-Soviet evacuation. Soviet reluctance 
to leave, discussed at Moscow in December by the American Secretary 
of State, combined with the revolt in Azerbaijan against Iran's author- 
ity the next spring to rock the United Nations with its first major crisis. 
But the departing American service troops, whose country was not a 
signatory to the treaty, were content to be the first to go. Argument 
was not their business. Their mission was to supply Russia, and their 
mission was completed. 1 

The period of American service in the Corridor falls into two 
phases. The first was characterized by the purely auxiliary status of the 
Americans, who performed construction and industrial tasks nomi- 
nated by the British. These were connected with maintenance of the 
British line of communications and with fulfillment of the British com- 
mitment to deliver supplies to the USSR. In September 1942, only a 
few days more than a year after the President's Middle East Directive 
was signed, the Combined Chiefs of Staff ushered in the second phase 
by assigning to the United States direct responsibility for moving an 
ever increasing flow of supplies through the Persian Corridor to the 
Soviet Union. 2 In October 1942, almost exactly a year from the date 
of the Letter of Instructions given to General Wheeler, Maj. Gen. 
Donald H. Connolly arrived in Iraq to assume command of the ex- 

1 (1) See James F. Byrnes, Speaking Frankly (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1947), 
pp. 118-21. (2) The American military missions to the Iranian Army and Gendarmerie re- 
mained as required by their contracts with the Iranian Government. See Gh. XXI below. 

3 CCS 109/1, Rpt, CSP for CCS, approved 22 Sep 42, sub: Development of Persian 
Trans Facilities. 323.361 General Connolly's Letter of Instructions, SL 9008. 


panded supply forces required to carry out the Combined Chiefs' 
directive. There followed some months of transition during which, 
while the Americans developed their Motor Transport Service and 
gradually militarized their construction and assembly activities, the 
British handed over operation of the railway from Tehran to the Gulf 
and of certain ports, and delegated numerous other responsibilities 
which had remained in their hands the first year. By 1 May 1943, with 
American assumption of effective control of movements which con- 
cerned American operations within the British zone, the transition 
to co-ordinate status in transport was completed. The narratives of the 
two phases unavoidably overlap, inasmuch as activities originating in 
the first survived into the second, while some activities functionally 
identified with the second phase actually began in the earlier period. 

Wheels Within Wheels 

There is something almost too neat, too precise, in the fact that the 
first phase of the American effort ended one year after it began. The 
calendar suggests a well planned and executed timetable, but nothing 
could be farther from actuality. The first year was marked by uncer- 
tainties, contradictions, false starts and reversals, improvisation, and 
experimentation. Planning and foresight often proved discouragingly 
futile. It was a year of confusion. 

When General Wheeler reached Baghdad on 30 November 1941 to 
establish his headquarters there near the headquarters of the British 
General Officer Commanding, Iraq, all of the elements which were to 
complicate the American task were already in being. First were those 
already detailed: the involved relationships of the British, Soviets, 
Iranians, and Americans, and the procedural difficulties in delivering 
supplies to the USSR. But there were also questions as to the American 
task itself : what it was ; when, where, how, and by whom it was to be 
performed. So many and varied were the factors governing the answers 
to these questions that an entire year passed before a clear-cut program 

Numerous policy papers were produced in Washington to guide 
early planning, but these, widely separated from the practical realities 
in the field, seem oddly irrelevant when inspected among the archives. 
There is the War Department message of 1 1 September referred to in 
the previous chapter. It listed objectives for American aid to Great 
Britain in the Middle East as follows: provision for the assembly, 
storage, overhaul, and repair of American aviation, ordnance, quarter- 
master, and signals equipment furnished to British forces in the Middle 


East; provision in depots for instruction centers to train British per- 
sonnel in the operation and repair of American equipment, with neces- 
sary housing; and expansion or construction of necessary port, rail, 
and highway transportation facilities. 

In addition the message stipulated that the establishment and 
operation of all depots and transportation facilities be by American 
private contractors and American civilian personnel. All of these pro- 
visions were incorporated in the Middle East Directive two days later, 
and reappeared in the War Plans Division's specifications for the 
Iranian Mission dated 24 September. This paper listed mission func- 
tions as follows : the study of British and Russian operational methods 
and tactics in desert country ; the exchange of information and experi- 
mental equipment regarding new design, as influenced by terrain and 
climate ; the testing and observation of American equipment in actual 
campaigns; the training of British and Russian personnel in the opera- 
tion and maintenance of American equipment ; the representing of the 
War Department in matters pertaining to lend-lease, especially in the 
supervision of supply and maintenance of equipment which would 
include adequate dockage, transportation, and depot facilities. 

The Secretary of War's Letter of Instructions to General Wheeler, 
dated 21 October, was even broader. It authorized Wheeler to repre- 
sent the War Department in the area and to administer and co-ordinate 
all War Department matters pertaining to the area; to command all 
military personnel, and to direct, control, and supervise all civilian 
personnel assigned or attached to the mission; to control and supervise 
American or other companies or agencies engaged under contract to 
further execution of the mission's functions; to establish and operate 
essential port, transportation, storage, assembly, maintenance, and 
training facilities "subject to the approval of requests for lend-lease 
assistance submitted by foreign governments"; to advise and assist the 
British, Russian, and other friendly governments in obtaining appro- 
priate military defense aid as contemplated in the Lend-Lease Act, 
and to assure the most effective and economic use of such aid ; to study 
operational methods to facilitate the use of American equipment in 
any future American operations; and to advise and assist the British, 
Russian, and other friendly governments in all phases of procurement, 
transport, and maintenance of United States materials, equipment, and 
munitions requisite to the prosecution of their military effort, and to 
advise and assist them in the training of their personnel in the use and 
maintenance of American equipment. 

The several statements of objectives and duties should be taken 
as indicating not so much a considered program as an attempt to an- 


ticipate any situation which might arise. Some of the duties, like the 
training of Russian personnel, were never put into effect. Others, like 
operation of port and transportation facilities, did not come into effect 
for more than a year, until certain British treaty rights over movement 
and transportation were delegated to the United States after the Com- 
bined Chiefs' directive. Still others, like the establishment of port, stor- 
age, assembly, and maintenance facilities, were put into effect immedi- 
ately. The advantage of broad and general definitions lay in their 
flexibility ; the disadvantage lay in their vagueness. Here was another 
element in the confusion which attended the reduction of generalities 
to specific tasks. 

In that process there were wheels within wheels. There were many 
planners, many plans to be fitted together, many uncontrollable factors, 
like the progress of the war, to affect planning. Under the Middle East 
Directive the Iranian Mission existed to comply with "the expressed 
needs" of the British. Over-all plans had therefore first to be decided 
upon by the British, whose primary concern was with their line of 
communications and with their readiness to meet not only the German 
attack, which until late in 1942 appeared imminent from the west and 
north, but also the looming threat of a German-Japanese junction in 
the Persian Gulf. 3 Supply to the Soviet Union through the Corridor 
necessarily came second in their planning. The Americans, who were 
committed to aid both the Russians and the British in the area, strove 
to reconcile the two obligations. The inability of some Americans in 
the field to understand the direction of the British effort in the area 
contributed not only to the general confusion but to the evidences of 
misunderstanding on this point with which the early files abound. This 
was a price the Americans had to pay for coming into the madhouse 
with relatively clean hands and pure hearts. They did not know enough 
and the few who never learned continued to feel that the British were 
not so serious about aid to Russia as were the Amercians. American 
planning, then, was conditioned by British planning, which in turn 
was conditioned by British local responsibilities for security; and both 
sets of planning were affected by the relative weight to be given from 

' ( 1 ) Gen. Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, in April 1942, feared such 
a junction, as well as Axis capture of the Iranian oil fields on which "the whole of our effort 
in both theaters [Middle East and India] depended." See Gordon A. Harrison, Cross-Channel 
Attack, in UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington: Government 
Printing Office, 1951 ), p. 17. (2) German sources reveal that although Japanese Ambassador 
Hiroshi Oshima at Berlin in the summer of 1942 suggested such a possibility, no German 
staff studies to that end were made. Generalleutnant Adolf Heusinger, Chief, Operations 
Division, German Army General Staff, called the idea "too fantastic and outside the field 
of military science." Historical Interrogation Commission, WDGS, MID, Interv with Brig 
Gen R. C. Brock and Lt Col O. J. Hale, 10-11 Sep 45. OCMH. (3) For the Oshima proposal, 
see Interrog Rpt 5782, 24 Sep 45, p. 3. OCMH. 


time to time to the aid-to-Russia program. Since there was no final 
authority for priorities save that at the very top in London and Wash- 
ington, priorities assigned or agreed at intermediate and lower levels 
were subject to change, with resultant confusion. 

Aside from such large obstacles to smooth operations, there was the 
task of intermeshing British and American machinery for planning and 
action. General planning had taken certain British needs in Iraq into 
consideration previous to the issuance of the Middle East Directive, 
while planning for Iranian projects started from scratch in September 
with the British instructions to General Quinan to prepare such road, 
rail, and river communications as were required to move maximum 
possible supplies to the USSR. By the time the first Americans reached 
Iraq in November 1941 the British were spread over Iraq and Iran, 
their hands very full indeed with the new Russian-aid task superim- 
posed upon those necessary to secure the area against Axis attack. 

Although American help was for a time extended to strictly British- 
aid projects in Iraq, it was the British commitment to supply the USSR 
through the Persian Corridor that soon claimed the full efforts of the 
American mission and its successors. In construction (highways, docks, 
buildings) and in the assembly of aircraft and motor vehicles, the 
American projects paralleled and multiplied similar activities by the 
British. In transport, the core of the program of Russian aid, the British 
attempted to carry the entire burden themselves along with all their 
other commitments. But time and the pressure of mounting tonnages 
proved this to be unworkable. Late in 1942 the decision of the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff to assign the operation of certain ports, the rail- 
road, and a supplementary trucking service to an augmented American 
military force overcame the long-standing arguments of those who had 
hitherto opposed sharing with the Americans British treaty rights over 
Iranian communications. 

One transport operation the British neither shared nor delegated. 
Inland Water Transport, established as a branch of the British Army 
in October 1941, operated interport and river barges and certain other 
port functions in Iraq and Iran. In time this military office employed 
200 Army officers, 600 British other ranks, and 12,000 soldiers and 
civilians of Indian and other nationalities. In its first year of operation 
(through September 1942) it moved 680,000 tons of cargo for all 

Those British activities which were shared or delegated, while not 
the subject of this book, are tied to the subject. The work of Brigadier 

* Unless otherwise noted the account of certain British activities is based upon PAI Force 
(published version) p. 88 and passim. 


Sir Godfrey Rhodes and a staff of approximately four thousand officers 
and men in supervising, regulating, and assisting Iranian operation of 
the ISR solidly constructed a firm foundation for the American stint 
on the railway. In dock and road building, as well as in the organization 
and operation of trucking services, the British were equally busy when 
the first Americans arrived. 

General Quinan's directive stressed the improvement of transport 
facilities. Under it the British brought to completion in 1942 the branch 
line of the railway from Ahwaz to Khorramshahr which enabled that 
port soon to outstrip Basra in the Russian-aid program. Basra, too, 
came in for improvement. The town of Basra lies about two miles 
inland from the south bank of the Shatt al Arab River, its dock areas 
being concentrated at Margil 5 and on the opposite or north bank of 
the river at Tanuma-Cheybassi. When the British landed at Basra in 
1941 they found a workmanlike port with six deepwater berths and 
enough labor and machinery to work them. To accommodate the heavy 
demands upon Basra as the seaport of their Basra-Baghdad line of 
communications, the British set about adding six more berths on the 
river. To provide an alternative port, in case the Shatt should be 
blocked by enemy action, they were committed to an ambitious dock- 
building program at a desolate, almost uninhabited sand and clay 
waste called Umm Qasr, south of Basra on the waters of the Khor 
Abdullah at the border between Iraq and Kuwait. The occupation of 
Iran in August-September offered the Iranian ports for use in the 
aid-to-Russia program, thus permitting the Basra port area to con- 
centrate chiefly on traffic necessary for British military needs. The 
British therefore undertook to increase dock facilities at Bandar Shah- 
pur, sea terminus of the ISR; at Khorramshahr; and at Bushire, an 
ancient Persian port served by lighterage from ships anchored miles 
offshore, whose landward communication relies upon a rudimentary 
road to Isfahan. British dock construction was performed for the most 
part by British civilian contractors under Army supervision; while 
local civilian stevedoring firms and the United Kingdom Commercial 
Corporation (UKCC) were relied upon to unload ships and provide 
the sorting and warehousing at dockside that is an important link in the 
chain of inland clearance. The vagaries of these British contractors 
added only another set of complications for the joint Anglo-American 
effort as American responsibilities for cargoes increased. 

Of all the civilian contractors, the semiofficial UKCC, with its early 
assignment to procure and deliver Russian-aid supplies, was the most 

5 Margil, spelled in British documents Maqil or Ma'qil, is said to be an Iraqi corruption 
of the name of a Scots trader, McGill, who long ago left his mark upon the map. 


formidable. The inconsequential capacity of the railway in 1941 em- 
phasized the vital part trucking would have to play in inland clearance, 
and this required not only the organization of trucking services- 
accomplished by UKCC and later supplemented by convoys of British 
Army drivers who took over haulage of strictly military stores and 
ammunition— but also the improvement of primitive roadways to 
carry vastly increased traffic. In September 1941 the British Chief 
Engineer, Iraq, sent Lt. Col. A. J. R. Hill, Royal Engineers, into Iran 
to reconnoitcr the roads. A pattern for road construction and main- 
tenance was evolved whereby the Iranian Government, with large 
British grants-in-aid, undertook improvement and maintenance of 
roads in the British zone. A contract was agreed to and the work put 
into the hands of Consortium Kampsax, the Danish firm which had 
shared in building the ISR for Reza Shah. Under the supervision of the 
Corps of Royal Engineers, Kampsax, as supervising and consulting 
engineers, administered and subcontracted locally. It did not directly 
construct or maintain highways. From Tehran a British Army engineer 
staff of fewer than twenty officers and other ranks supervised Kampsax, 
which in turn administered far-flung operations. By March 1942 a 
force of 67,000 native workmen and 14,000 donkeys were working on 
roads. Using shovels and rakes and little straw baskets, hand-filled with 
earth, men toiled much as in the days of Cyrus and Darius. Floods 
washed away some roads in the east and these were rebuilt; but this 
happened too when the Americans built roads with their laborsaving 
machines. 6 

At one time or another British trucking organizations, either mili- 
tary o r UKCC. used four routes to haul goods to Soviet receiving 
points. [(Map 2-j-inside back cover) The easternmost of these picked 
up at Zahidan loads brought by rail from Karachi. Trucks carried 
on from Zahidan to Meshed. This route, used intermittently in 1941, 
1942, and 1943 for supplies arriving from overseas at Karachi and for 
raw materials en route from India to the USSR, was abandoned in 
1943 through a combination of bad highway conditions and Soviet 
objections to its use. 

A second route provided inland clearance north from the port of 
Bushire, where lend-lease trucks were being assembled for the Soviets. 
This route ran via Shiraz, Isfahan, Qum, and Tehran to Tabriz and 
was used not only for delivery of assembled trucks under their own 
power but for UKCC convoys carrying cargoes unloaded at Bushire. 

'U.S. MA Rpt 122 from Tehran, 9 Jul 43. MID 611 Iran, 7-9-43 (11-28-41). 


The route was abandoned because in the early days it was too costly 
in manpower to protect against tribal raiders. 

At Andimeshk British military trucking units and the UKCC con- 
voys took over certain cargoes which had come up by rail from Bandar 
Shahpur and forwarded them by truck via Hamadan and Kazvin to 
Tabriz. The British used this route until mid -July 1943 when it became 
a part of the road system prepared by the Americans for their trucking 
service. Between this route and the Bushire-Isfahan-Qum route, the 
British also repaired a connecting road from Malayer to Qum via Sul- 
tanabad (sometimes called Arak) which was used in due course by 
Russian-driven convoys of American trucks assembled at Andimeshk 
and Khorramshahr. 

The fourth British-used route, the Khanaqin Lift, came ultimately 
to bear the chief burden of British trucking for the Soviets, although in 
the beginning its Basra-Baghdad leg was heavily pre-empted for 
British military needs. This route started at Basra from which three 
types of clearance served it : the railway from Basra to Baghdad, barges 
on the Tigris between the two cities, and a highway. From Baghdad 
all cargo proceeded by rail to Khanaqin on the Iranian border, whence 
trucks took over by road via Kermanshah, Hamadan, and Takistan to 
Tabriz. 7 

In addition to their transport and construction activities the British 
forces established in the Basra area two large assembly plants. At 
Shu'aiba, site of the airfield maintained under the Anglo-Iraqi treaty 
and of a large base ordnance depot, American lend-lease aircraft were 
being assembled for the Royal Air Force. Near by, at Rafadiyah, where 
the British had large engineer base workshops, American lend-lease 
motor vehicles were being assembled for both British and Russian 

Planning and Action 

It was a formidable list of tasks which the Americans offered to 
share, and no small item in the inventory of early confusion was the 
fact that the urgency of war needs forced the work to proceed even 
while tasks were planned and allocations discussed. As happened else- 
where in the war, the machine had to be made to run even while it was 
being built. Two objectives vied for priority : the readiness of the British 
forces to meet invasion, and aid to the USSR which held top priority 

7 Upon completion in early 1943 of a rail spur from Kut al Imara to Ba'quba, the 
Khanaqin Lift consisted of barge from Basra to Kut al Imara, rail from there to Khanaqin, 
and road to Tabriz. 


in all Anglo-American global planning through the first half of 1942. 
A minor example will illustrate how those interrelated yet conflicting 
purposes increased the confusion. In his planning late in 1941 for road 
construction tasks in Iran and Iraq, the American engineer in charge 
relied upon advice from the field that adequate stocks of explosives for 
blasting stone would be available from local British stores. Therefore, 
to save scarce shipping space explosives were not sent abroad; but, 
when it was time to begin the blasting, it was discovered that local 
British stocks had been earmarked for demolition purposes in case of 
invasion and were unavailable for blasting. Thus British need tem- 
porarily frustrated the road building essential to Russian aid. 8 

As a result of the Pearl Harbor attack, existing shipping had to be 
spread over the whole world, while the mounting loss of ships by enemy 
action which followed Pearl Harbor aggravated an already bad situa- 
tion. The allocation of dwindling tonnages was a factor to frustrate 
the most careful and foresighted planning. In the case of shipping 
priorities for the Persian Corridor, the very zeal of the President to 
render maximum aid to Russia paradoxically contributed to the long 
list of situations making for confusion. Deeply concerned lest the 
solemn promise of the First (Moscow) Protocol be violated because 
of unlooked-for demands on shipping, Roosevelt wrote the Secretary 
of War: 

I desire that the Soviet aid program as provided in the Protocol Agreement be 
re-established beginning January 1. Existing deficits are to be made up and shipped 
from this country not later than April 1. . . . The whole Russian program is so 
vital to our interests I know that only the gravest consideration will lead you to 
recommend our withholding longer the munitions our Government has promised 
the USSR. 9 

After shipments to the Soviet Union had again fallen behind the pro- 
tocol schedule in the following spring, the President directed Donald 
Nelson of the War Production Board to get materials "released . . . 
regardless of the effect of these shipments on any other part of our war 
program," and told Rear Adm. Emory S. Land of the War Shipping 
Administration to give Russian aid "a first priority in shipping." 10 
Increased tonnage of lend-lease supplies flowed out to all of the Russian 
supply routes, including the Persian Gulf route ; there the paradox was 
that the high priorities which stimulated the increased flow did not 
apply in the same degree to the additional shipments of men and mate- 

' Interv with Col Albert C. Lieber, Jr., Pentagon, 7 Feb 49. (This form of citation is 
used for interviews conducted by the author.) 

"Ltr, President Roosevelt to Secy War, 28 Dec 41. AG 400.3295 (8-14-41) Sec 1. 
'" Stettinius, Lend-Lease, p. 205. (Quoted by permission of The Macmillan Company.) 


rials needed to build and operate the facilities for handling the flow of 
supplies. The consequent accelerating imbalance between the arrival 
of supplies and the ability to move them on to the Russians was perhaps 
the most troublesome phenomenon of the year of confusion. 

From the foregoing account of complexities it is apparent that the 
business of determining which of the many British tasks were to be 
assumed by the Americans would have been difficult enough even had 
the machinery involved in that determination been simple. But here 
again nothing was simple. There was no neat funnel through which 
screened and co-ordinated plans could be transmitted from X to Y; 
and although both the British and the Americans maintained clearance 
and liaison agencies, translating general directives into field tasks was 

On the British side, for example, the War Office in September 1941 
instructed the Commander-in-Chief, India, to prepare lists of tasks 
for the United States to perform in Iraq, Iran, and India. 11 One of the 
first of these, supply of rolling stock for the ISR, reached the British 
Supply Council in Washington via Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of 
Supply, and was transmitted to Harry Hopkins through Generals Burns 
and George Spalding of the Division of Defense Aid Reports. 12 At the 
same time Lord Beaverbrook communicated requests for aid through 
the American Ambassador at London directly to Hopkins and Harri- 
man. Data gathered by Sir Oliver Lyttleton, Minister of State, in the 
Middle East were transmitted to the British Supply Committee at 
London, who sent recommendations for dispatch via the Foreign Office 
to the British Supply Council at Washington. The process in general 
was to funnel recommendations up from the field agencies to co- 
ordinating agencies at the top and from them across to similar Ameri- 
can agencies which transmitted them on down to the field. As it had 
not been decided by early October whether General Wheeler's mission 
was to be attached to the General Officer Commanding, Iraq, whose 
command embraced Iran, or to the Commander-in-Chief, India, who 
commanded Iraq, tasks nominated for the Iranian Mission originated 
at both of these British headquarters. Anthony Eden, Foreign Secre- 
tary, notified Sir Miles Lampson, British Ambassador, Cairo, on 7 
October that discussion of needed tasks should go forward promptly 

" By Msgs, 25 Sep, 3 Oct 41, cited Summary and Index, p. 2, American Aid in the ME, 
1941 and 1942 (a collection of documents from British sources supplied the author through 
the courtesy of the Historical Section, Cabinet Office, London). MEF (Middle East Files, 

13 (1) AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 1, under dates of 5, 6, 10, 23 Sep 41. (2) Notes 
on Conf at Office for Emergency Management, 9 Sep 41, atchd to AG Ltr to CofEngrs, 31 
Oct 41, sub: North African Mission. 381 (Middle East) (11-1-41) 3, OCofEngrs. 


to enable the Americans to decide "which of these projects they will be 
able to undertake and when they will be able to start." To provide ma- 
chinery for screening proposals from various British field agencies, Gen. 
Sir Robert H. Haining, Intendant-General, Middle East, a special 
emissary acting at Cairo for the Prime Minister, on 15 October or- 
ganized within the Middle East War Council at Cairo an American 
Aid Subcommittee. Under his chairmanship this body undertook to 
remedy a condition of serious confusion which, in his opinion, arose 
from the independence of the several British services and agencies that 
found themselves competing for American-aid projects. 13 

On the American side the general process of planning was similar 
to the British. Before the arrival of the missions in the field, British 
requests reached mission planning staffs via lend-lease and the War 
Department. At this stage the Amercians were handicapped by their 
unfamiliarity with the regions and conditions involved; but personal 
consultation with British opposite numbers after the Americans ar- 
rived overseas reduced the handicap, while some early planning had to 
be modified to fit the realities. The Iranian Mission thus received nomi- 
nations of tasks both from Washington and through its direct contact 
with British Army representatives in Iraq, Iran, and India. Selection 
of tasks, assignment of local priorities, and the devising of means of 
performing the work devolved, in the last analysis, upon the chief 
of the mission, General Wheeler, subject to the direction and approval 
of the Secretary of War and to the inevitable and frequent shifts of 
plan arising from the several causes already discussed. 

General Wheeler's plans were subject to still other limitations, for 
he was by no means the only American charged with interest in, or 
responsibility for, decisions and actions in his area. There was Colonel 
Faymonville, already at Moscow as head of the civilian Lend-Lease 
Administration office there. His interest in seeing that the Russians got 
what had been promised them required that he keep a very close check 
on what was going on in the Persian Corridor. He could make inquiries, 
suggest investigations, consult, transmit Soviet wishes and require- 
ments, and report to Washington his observations and suggestions. 
Every decision of General Wheeler affecting aid to Russia was of con- 
cern to Colonel Faymonville. 

General Maxwell, who established the headquarters of the U.S. 
Military North African Mission at Cairo on 22 November, attended 
shortly thereafter the third meeting of the American Aid Subcommit- 
tee of the Middle East War Council. Although discussion at that 

13 (1) Msg, 7 Oct 41, App. 2, American Aid in the ME, 1941 and 1942. MEF. (2) 
Summary and Index, pp. 9-10, American Aid in the ME, 1941 and 1942. MEF. 


meeting turned chiefly upon projects in the area within General Max- 
well's responsibility, the British aircraft assembly operations in the 
Basra area and proposals for establishment there of American-operated 
assembly plants were also discussed by General Maxwell as the Ameri- 
can representative. In this informal way began an arrangement of 
convenience by which General Maxwell came increasingly to speak 
for General Wheeler's interests at British headquarters in Cairo. As 
time went on, and GHQ, British Middle East Forces, at Cairo, extended 
its responsibilities to Iraq and Iran, the interest of American head- 
quarters at Cairo in operations in the Persian Corridor likewise in- 
creased until its command responsibility for those operations was 
formalized the following June 1942 by the activation of the U.S. 
Army Forces in the Middle East under General Maxwell. 1 * 

Another American agency whose presence in the Persian Corridor 
affected the decisions and acts of the Iranian Mission was the USSR 
Mission under General Greely. Organized as a lend-lease instrumen- 
tality on the pattern of the North African and Iranian Missions, the 
Greely mission had been instructed to proceed into the Soviet Union 
and to carry out its tasks from there. To this end its chief was provided 
on 5 November 1941 with a Letter of Instructions identical with those 
given Generals Wheeler and Maxwell, except that Greely was to 
render advice and assistance to Russian and other friendly govern- 
ments, in contrast to Wheeler's aid to British, Russian, and other 
friendly governments, and Maxwell's aid to British and other friendly 
governments. Greely's functions and authorized powers relative to lend- 
lease aid to Russia were described in the same words as Wheeler's. 
Furthermore the War Department had left to their mutual agreement 
the delimitation of the geographical areas to be commanded by each. 
Greely arrived at Basra on 31 January 1942 and proceeded to Tehran 
where he established his headquarters; but the Soviet Union refused 

" (1) Min, 3d Mtg of American Aid S ubcommit tee. 24 Nov 41, App. 11, American Aid 
in the ME, 1941 and 1942. MEF. (2) See | Chart l| (3) The administrative and command 
relationships of British forces in Iraq and Iran to GHQ, India, and GHQ, Middle East 
Forces, Cairo, during 1941 and 1942 are somewhat obscure. From May 1941 Iraq appears 
to have been within the Middle East "sphere of interest," though the General Officer 
Commanding, Iraq, with headquarters at Baghdad commanded British forces in Iran and 
was in turn under the command of Commander-in-Chief, India. "For administration only," 
Iran was placed under the command of GHQ, Middle East Forces, "during the period mid- 
February 1942 to mid-September 1942." Ltr and atchd Memo, Brig H. B. Latham, Chief, 
Hist Sec, Cabinet Office, London, to author, 5 Mar 48. (4) In January 1942 the War 
Department received notification from London that Iraq and Iian had been transferred from 
India to Middle East. This information, not wholly exact, as the above shows, was simultane- 
ously cabled 15 January 1942 to Generals Maxwell and Wheeler. Memo, Brig Gen Leonard 
T. Gerow for TAG, 15 Jan 42, sub: Transfer of Iraq and Persia to Middle East Comd. 
AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 6. (5) For relevance of British command and jurisdictional 
matters to the creation of USAFIME, see Ch. V below. 


entry of the USSR Mission as a whole, and so the War Department, 
early in May, abolished it. During the intervening three months, the 
USSR and Iranian Missions jostled one another uncomfortably in a 
Corridor which was already crowded. 15 

The number of American missions in the field directly or indirectly 
involved in operations in the Corridor was matched by the several 
agencies of the War Department concerned in the planning and execu- 
tion of Iranian Mission tasks. The Air Corps was charged with the 
assembly of lend-lease aircraft at a site to be designated by the chief of 
the mission, and three of the technical services, Ordnance, Quarter- 
master, and Engineers, divided among them the planning and execu- 
tion of tasks suitable to their special functions. A considerable tug of 
war ensued over the determination of the activities to be undertaken 
by each ; data available to one set of planners were not always known 
to the others, overlapping and confusion continued for many months. 
The ordnance plan, largest of all from a monetary aspect, was aban- 
doned after months of busy planning because of a re-estimate of the 
requirements in the light of changing conditions overseas. The Quar- 
termaster Corps as late as February 1942 expected to operate two or 
three of the chief Persian Gulf ports although, as has been stated, 
American responsibility for port operation did not become effective 
for more than a year after that. 16 It also planned for the operation of 
motor vehicle assembly plants, a function transferred in the War 
Department reorganization of 1942 to Ordnance. 

Upon the Corps of Engineers fell the duty of planning and execut- 
ing necessary engineering and construction tasks for the mission. On 
22 September 1941 the Lend-Lease Administrator, Edward R. Stet- 
tinius, Jr., wrote the Secretary of War of the British requirements for 
the railway, thus setting in motion the machinery of engineer planning. 
Transmitted to the Chief of Staff, the problem was referred to General 
George Spalding and by him to the Chief of Engineers, who appointed 
a committee to explore and recommend. On 29 September the Chief 
of Engineers reported progress to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G— 4, 
and on 24 October, at General Wheeler's request, instructions were 
dispatched to the Chief of Engineers by The Adjutant General "to 
permit essential collaboration between" him and the chief of the 
Iranian Mission. 17 The Chief of Engineers was directed in addition to 

"Ltr of Instructions, 5 Nov 41. AG 400.3295 (8-14-41). See also Ch, IV below for an 
account of the USSR Mission. 

18 Memo, 1 Mar 42, sub: Mtg of Arms and Servs, U. S. Mil Mission to Iran, 27 Feb 42. 
323.61 Establishment of Military Districts, Binder 1, SL 9008. 

" The first two documents cited are in Iran 2/8, NADEF ; the third, in AG 400.3295 
(8-9-41) Sec 4. 


furnish technical engineering advice and assistance relative to port, 
transport, storage, assembly, maintenance, and training facilities; to 
purchase and ship equipment and supplies needed by the mission; to 
negotiate and execute contracts for construction necessary to his tasks; 
and to provide the necessary engineer commissioned, enlisted, and 
civilian personnel. On 28 October the Office of the Chief of Engineers 
assigned to the Division Engineer, North Atlantic Division, New York, 
"the duty of carrying out the War Department instructions through a 
new engineer district to be established and known as the Iranian Dis- 
trict. Lieut. Colonel Albert C. Lieber, Jr. will be ordered to report 
to you for duty as District Engineer for the Iranian District." Establish- 
ment of the new district with headquarters in New York, and the 
appointment of Colonel Lieber, followed on 31 October. 18 

The collaborative relationship established by War Department di- 
rective between the chief of the Iranian Mission and the Iranian Dis- 
trict engineer requires further notice. Colonel Lieber moved his 
headquarters to Iraq in February 1942, and therefore, as an Army 
officer located in the territory of the Iranian Mission, came under the 
command of the chief of the mission. His responsibility for the execu- 
tion of engineer tasks, however, derived via the North Atlantic Division 
from the Chief of Engineers. The Iranian District engineer main- 
tained a staff of his own and his headquarters were separate and dis- 
tinct from Iranian Mission headquarters. His function, subject to the 
control of the chief of the mission, was to execute certain mission 
projects ; but as the Iranian District engineer was the contracting officer 
for the U.S. Government, the purse strings for engineer tasks were in 
his hands, and he exercised full control over matters of finance, pro- 
curement, and personnel related to his projects. With regard to 
engineer work, the functions of the chief of the mission were to make 
plans through his own engineer planning staff, to adopt projects and 
assign them priorities, and to allocate the tonnages requested to bring 
materials from the United States. The co-ordination necessary to the 
successful carrying out of mission tasks by a district engineer whose 
authority stemmed from the Chief of Engineers rather than from the 
chief of the mission was achieved by a voluntary working agreement 
in the field that recognized the efficacy of reposing final on-the-spot 
authority in the chief of the mission. The district engineer was not 
under General Wheeler in matters covered by the War Department's 
directive to the Chief of Engineers; but the work proceeded as though 

"(1) Ltr, Brig Gen Thomas M. Robins to Div Engr, NAD, NY, 28 Oct 41, sub: 
Iranian Mission. 381 (Middle East) O&T Sec Files, Folio 1, Serials 1-175, OCofEngrs. (2) 
GO 7, OCofEngrs, 31 Oct 41. 


he were. Difficulties inherent in a parallel or collaborative procedure 
were in this way reduced to a minimum. 19 

The Civilian Contractors 

One further factor in the catalogue of confusion remains to be 
noted. The British forces in the Corridor had found it expedient to em- 
ploy a variety of civilian contractors to carry out or to supervise, under 
military direction, certain tasks. Rail, highway, and dock construction, 
housing, stevedoring at the ports, and inland motor transport, were 
handled in varying degree in this fashion. Partly because of the British 
example, partly because preliminary American planning was carried 
on while the United States was still neutral, but chiefly because Ameri- 
can resources of trained military personnel were wholly inadequate to 
meet anticipated requirements, the President's Middle East Directive 
had stipulated use of civilian contractors acting under military direc- 
tion. Accordingly, the Air Corps, the Ordnance Department, the Quar- 
termaster Corps, and the Corps of Engineers engaged civilian con- 
tractors, three of whom shipped men and machinery to the field during 
the first part of 1942. Serious difficulties were inherent in the contractor 
system: overlapping, such as that which produced in Iran in 1942 a 
situation where four American agencies and one British felt themselves 
responsible for construction of essentially the same sort of buildings in 
the same general location; the delicate balance of management con- 
trols between military and civilian authorities; and the still more 
delicate problem of the status of American civilians, legal and military, 
in war areas. But no other means were available to the planners to 
accomplish tasks largely technical in nature on the scale called for by 
the emergency. Furthermore, since a nation still neutral could not send 
an expeditionary force even if it possessed enough trained officers 
and men, all early planning, procurement, and shipment had to proceed 
on the assumption of continuance of the civilian contractor system. 

Pearl Harbor removed one set of obstacles to militarization. On the 
day after the attack the Iranian District engineer conferred on the sub- 
ject of troops with the Deputy Chief of Engineers, Brig. Gen. Thomas 
M. Robins. They agreed that during the period required to train 
engineer forces it would be necessary to carry on with the civilian 
contractors. 20 

19 This working arrangement was continued between the district engineer and General 
Wheeler's successor, Col. Don G. Shingler, (1) Interv cited n. 8. (2) Interv, Gen Shingler 
with Victor H. Pentlarge, Jr., Pentagon, 22 Apr 46. 

30 Interv cited n. 8. 


Systematic militarization of overseas contract activities throughout 
the world was decreed by a War Department directive on 18 February 
1942. In accordance with this directive, such activities, with listed ex- 
ceptions, were to be "terminated as soon as possible, and in each case 
within six months from the date of this directive." n Activities were to 
be "carried out by military organizations and units to be organized in 
the United States and sent overseas" to replace the contractor forces. 
In the case of the Iranian Mission local circumstances delayed militari- 
zation well past the year of confusion and into the period of reorganiza- 
tion initiated by the Combined Chiefs' directive of September 1942. 
The first of the civilian contractors for this area to go was the one 
retained by the Ordnance Department. It was released on 14 March 
1942. This company, alone of all the contractors, put no men into the 
field. The termination of contracts by the Engineers and by the Air 
Corps followed on 1 January and 31 March 1943 respectively; while 
the Quartermaster contractor (whose contract was transferred to Ord- 
nance) remained in the field until 30 June 1943. Uncertainty as to 
the continuation of the several contracts hampered all stages of the 
work, from planning and procurement, through shipment of men and 
equipment, to actual operations ; while the difficulties of transition from 
civilian to military operation, protracted during a six months' period 
in 1943, slowed the attainment of targets set by early planning. 

As one reviews the months from September 1941 to October 1942, 
and those following months of long-drawn-out transition, it is apparent 
that the one thing needful to prevent confusion, besides the rare quali- 
ties of divination and absolute wisdom, was unified command. Unified 
command in the Persian Corridor was, however, impossible. Instead 
there evolved, through improvisation, through trial and error, and in 
spite of a host of difficulties, a working co-operation among the repre- 
sentatives of the four nations involved, which brought order out of what 
was, for a time, very nearly chaos. 

n AG Ltr, 18 Feb 42, sub: Closing Out of Overseas Contracts and Militarization of 
Contract Activities. AG 160 (2-15-42) MSC-D-M. 


Six Months in Iraq 

The story of early planning explains how it came about that the 
first American effort was in Iraq and why that effort was short-lived. 
For six months from November 1941 the Iraqi chapter was longer on 
planning than on performance. The ordnance plan is an extreme 
instance: almost all planning, almost no performance in the field. 
The case of the Iranian Mission's first job in Iraq was less extreme, 
though more than a million dollars and the best working months of the 
year had been expended on projects when change of plan transferred 
them to the British before they were fairly started. 1 In the early stages 
of new ventures, trial and error take their toll of the best-laid plans. 

The Engineer Tasks 

The first plans were very large indeed. Broached by the British 
before Pearl Harbor put a global strain upon American resources, 
these plans indicated both a belief that the Americans could do any- 
thing and the hope that they would. British needs were great, and 
the President had directed that their needs should govern. 

Following the Washington decision in September 1941 to establish 
the Iranian Mission, the War Office, London, instructed the Com- 
mander-in-Chief, India, to make suggestions for American projects in 
road construction and maintenance, port development with rail con- 
nections, maintenance of American vehicles being operated by the 
United Kingdom Commercial Corporation, and development of inland 
water transport. This last field of activity, as has been pointed out, was 
never entrusted in whole or in part to the Americans; but tasks in the 
other fields named by the War Office were duly considered for assign- 
ment to the Iranian Mission. 2 The command relationship between India 

1 The figure of $1,188,000 for the work in Iraq is included in Report of Foreign Manager 
on Fee Earned, WD Contract DA-W-1098-Eng-109, 20 Mar 43. Head Office, Spencer, 
White and Prentis, New York (referred to hereafter as SWP Office) . 

2 War Office Rad, 6 Oct 41, quoted Summary and Index, p. 9, American Aid in the ME, 
1941 and 1942. MEF. 


and the British forces in Iraq and Iran made New Delhi the appropriate 
clearinghouse for plans for that area. When General Wheeler left the 
United States in late October arrangements had been concluded for 
him to stop at New Delhi for consultation with General Wavell. At 
Honolulu Wheeler joined his chief of staff, Lt. Col. Don G. Shingler, 
and General Maxwell, who was on his way to Cairo in command of the 
North African Mission. From Karachi, while Maxwell continued by 
air to Cairo, Wheeler and Shingler proceeded by train to New Delhi. 
There from 20 to 26 November they met with the Commander-in- 
Chief, India. 

On 25 November General Wavell's headquarters reported "works 
suitable for American aid agreed with General Wheeler. . . ." On 
the day before, Wheeler cabled from New Delhi his list of "nine 
items . . . essential for American aid to Russia and to British Army 
in Iraq and Iran." On the same day, in Washington — after conferences 
participated in by Generals Burns and George Spalding and Brig. Gen. 
Sidney P. Spalding representing War Department responsibility for 
lend-lease, General Robins and others of the Office of the Chief of 
Engineers, the Iranian District engineer and his contractors, and repre- 
sentatives of the Iranian Mission — a third list of tasks was drawn up. 8 

These lists are interesting both for their agreements and for their 
points of difference. General Wavell noted 10 projects: 5 for India, 
3 for Iran, 1 each for Iraq and for an undesignated site at the head of 
the Persian Gulf. General Wheeler included 6 projects for India, and 
1 each for Iran, Iraq, and the head of the Gulf. The Washington list, 
being primarily concerned with engineer tasks, will be separately con- 
sidered. Perhaps the most striking difference between the Wavell and 
the Wheeler lists is the omission from the American list of two British 
proposals : development of docks at Umm Qasr in Iraq (the task which 
soon received top priority) and development of ports on the Caspian 
Sea, inside the Soviet-occupied zone of Iran, with communications 
thereto. The Caspian task, to which General Wavell's list attached the 
first importance and which, it noted, would require Soviet co-operation 
to be obtained by General Wheeler, was quietly and promptly aban- 
doned for lack of Soviet approval. 

The Wavell and Wheeler lists agreed, with a difference in phrasing, 
on establishment of motor vehicle assembly plants at Karachi. The 
Wheeler list noted that the vehicles assembled at Karachi were for 

3 (1) Msg ARMINDIA 18886/Q. (Q. 1), New Delhi to Troopers Mideast, Cairo, 25 
Nov 41, App^ 12, American Aid in the ME, 1941 and 1942. MEF. (21 Msg 18786/Q, GHQ, 
India, 24 Nov 41. Iran 5/13, NADEF. (3) Memo, signed by Capt Paul F. Yount, 24 Nov 
41, subf Rpt on Cons Needs. Iran 2/8, NADEF. 


delivery to Russia via eastern Iran; Wavell's list made no mention of 
a delivery route but noted that some of the vehicles were to be for 
British use "for leave supplies." The lists also agreed on : establishment 
of a motor vehicle assembly plant at the head of the Persian Gulf; a 
small motor repair shop near Bombay ; a repair shop at Agra, India, 
for signals equipment of American make; an ordnance repair shop 
at Karachi for tank engines and bodies; a base ordnance workshop at 
Tehran to assemble, service, and check equipment being handed over 
to the Russians, the British list noting that they attached great im- 
portance to putting the delivery of supplies to the Russians into Ameri- 
can hands; and provision of American instructional personnel for ad- 
vice to Indian Army engineers on the use of certain machinery of 
American make. The British list alone carried an item for American 
development and maintenance of one thousand miles of road on the 
Ahwaz-Hamadan-Khanaqin route, a part of which the Americans 
were later to undertake. The American list named the provision of river 
craft for work on the Tigris and Karun Rivers, a project later under- 
taken by the Iranian Mission. This was included in the Wavell list, 
but with a low priority. The absence from both lists of an American 
aircraft assembly plant for the Basra area is explained by the fact that 
this project was planned through British headquarters in Cairo. The 
British list noted that General Wheeler had indicated in the New Delhi 
conversations that he did not feel his directive authorized him to discuss 
British proposals for pipeline construction; the American list did not 
mention pipeline work. The two lists represent not specifically agreed 
tasks but general agreement on the kind of task. No agreement on 
priorities was put to paper; but it is clear, from later project lists, that 
specific tasks as well as priorities were carefully considered by the 
conferees and, because of the changing situation, were left unrecorded 
and flexible. 

The Washington list of construction items was drawn up to enable 
the Iranian District engineer to plan for procurement of men, equip- 
ment, and shipping. It indicated that details of the general construction 
schemes would be dependent on information that would be gathered 
at sites yet to be selected, but it did not specifically locate any projects 
beyond noting that they would be in the Basra area, at Bandar Shahpur 
(not mentioned in the Wavell or Wheeler lists), at Bombay, and at 
inland points in Iraq and Iran. Dock, housing, plant, shop, and depot 
construction, road repair and improvement, and a limited amount of 
railroad construction were listed; but the paper shows, as do all the 
early planning papers, the differing bases of information upon which 
the various planners proceeded. For instance, the Washington list, not 


having been derived exclusively from nominations by the Commander- 
in-Chief, India, mentioned airport construction; and its provision for 
construction of six hundred miles of pipeline in Iran reveals how far 
the British idea of a great pipeline network to be built with materials 
imported from the United States had advanced in Washington, though 
at the same time, in New Delhi, General Wheeler had indicated that 
pipelines lay outside the scope of his directive. Again, the Washington 
list, providing only for very limited rail construction, came much closer 
to eventual American commitments than did later plans which ranged 
from creating an extensive rail network in Syria and Palestine to 
double-tracking the ISR. 

With planning in late November still in the broad preparatory stage, 
it had meanwhile been necessary to appoint a civilian contractor for 
the Iranian District engineer and to develop a specific program of 
work. The certainty that there would be dock construction, highway 
work, and a variety of building assignments suggested the firm of 
Spencer, White and Prentis, Inc., who, in the years 1932 to 1938, had 
been the contractor when Major Wheeler was building cofferdams, 
locks, and dams on the upper Mississippi for the Corps of Engineers. 
To handle an undetermined amount of railway construction, Foley 
Brothers, Inc., for two generations experienced in railroad work, were 
called in and the two companies together (called for convenience 
Folspen) signed on 10 November a contract for service abroad. 4 Lt. 
Col. John A. Gillies, formerly General Manager of the Santa Fe Rail- 
way, appointed to the Iranian Mission by General Wheeler to under- 
take advance railway surveys in Iran and Iraq, arrived in the field on 
20 November and established field headquarters at Marine House, 
Ashar, in the business district of modern Basra. With General Wheeler's 
headquarters established ten days later at Baghdad and the district 
engineer, Colonel Lieber, still at New York, Colonel Gillies, as mission 
representative in the south, found rail surveys swamped by pressing 
problems connected with making lend-lease work locally. 

The first orientation of the mission was toward the British line of 
communications, Basra to Baghdad. Both considerations of security 
and the indeterminate state of planning prevented the writing into 
the engineer constructor's contract of exact specifications for the work 

'The contract, DA-W-1098-Eng-!09, was approved 18 November 1941 by Under 
Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson. See Edmund A. Prentis, Progress Review of Construc- 
tion Work, American Military Mission to Persia, 10 Mar 43: and A. J. Ruge, Project 
Manager, Report on Iranian Operations, 9 Mar 43. Both filed SWP Office. Information on 
the overseas operations of the engineer constructor was obtained in interviews with Ruge 
and Charles H. Sells, Foreign Manager, on 28 October 1944 at the Head Office of Foley 
Brothers, Inc., Pleasantville, N. Y. : and with Prentis, Lazarus White, C. L. Swenson, and 
Eugene W. Kortjohn on 19 October 1944 at the SWP Office. 


to be done. But examination of the contract and of the first detailed 
instructions issued under it shows that the Americans had decided to 
concentrate their initial efforts around the head of the Persian Gulf. 
The contract, without mentioning sites, called for wharf construction, 
rail approaches to docks, highway building and improvement in Iran, 
and temporary housing and warehousing which would be appropriate 
for either the Basra-Umm Qasr area or Iran. In the first directive 
under the contract, issued just after the Wavell-Wheeler lists, a motor 
vehicle assembly plant for the Ahwaz-Andimeshk region was among 
projects listed. Camps for the constructor's men were also specified for 
the same area. Otherwise, this directive followed the general statement 
of tasks written into the contract. 

The process of determining construction tasks was carried still fur- 
ther in early January when the Iranian District engineer assigned sites 
now decided upon by the mission. The construction of an auxiliary port 
at Umm Qasr with wharves, access roads, and railway yards, a con- 
struction camp and storage yard, and highway and rail connections 
with Basra came first on the list. It also called for construction and 
administrative offices, camp, mess, hospital, storage facilities, repair 
shops, and an equipment yard for the Basra area. Because no field re- 
connaissance had yet been made, absence of information as to sources 
of rock and gravel left one thousand miles of highway construction and 
improvement unlocated. In addition the constructor was notified to 
prepare to build shops at Basra and Karachi as called for by the 
ordnance program. 5 

The Ordnance Program 

The implementing of the lend-lease process at the receiving end 
in the Persian Corridor laid upon the Iranian Mission many more 
responsibilities than those involved in the construction of docks, high- 
ways, railways, and buildings. By the turn of the year these engineer 
tasks had received top priority; but both their determination and execu- 
tion were affected by decisions in other fields such as Ordnance, Quar- 

5 ( 1 ) The' so-called New York Letter was issued by the North Atlantic Division engineer 
under date of 27 November 1941. See Rpt cited n. 1. (2) Ltr, Col Lieber to Folspen, 5 Jan 
42. Iran 4/4, NADEF. (3) After this date the constructor's work was notified to it through 
five foreign directives dating from 4 to 27 April 1942, and twenty-one change orders with 
amendments dating from 10 April to 10 December 1942. They may be compared with the 
summary of work done contained in Information To Be Furnished to the North Atlantic 
Division for the Purpose of Preparing a Completion Report for Contract DA-W-1098- 
Eng-109, as requested by letter dated 10 May 1943 from the North Atlantic Division and 
signed by Capt. H. G. Groves. NA 7205 (AMSIR) 13/2, and NA 319.2 (AMSIR) 38/2, 
NADEF. Another copy PGF 239. 


termaster, and Air. Kinds of projects, location of sites, division of re- 
sponsibilities, local arrangements for labor and procurement — all these 
posed questions for which the mission had to find prompt answers. 
Most important, in its effect on early planning, was the ordnance 

Unlike the Corps of Engineers which set up separate district 
engineers for North Africa and Iran to be attached to the Maxwell 
and Wheeler missions respectively, the Ordnance Department elected 
to handle its Middle East projects under a single plan for both missions. 
Direction of work in the field was to be under Col. Francis H. Miles, 
Jr., ordnance officer on the staff of General Maxwell and acting 
ordnance officer for the Wheeler mission. The civilian contractor, 
The J. G. White Engineering Corporation, of New York, after pro- 
tracted negotiations starting in November and conducted by the New 
York Ordnance District office, was appointed on 26 January 1942. 
The basic program was outlined in an advance plan, dated 1 2 Novem- 
ber 1941. 6 

The advance plan provided for "supervision of and co-ordination 
with any Ordnance activities which may develop in the area of the 
Iran Mission," and made Ordnance responsible for the design, location, 
operation, and maintenance of projected installations, leaving con- 
struction to the Engineers. Notwithstanding this definition of respon- 
sibilities, the ordnance contractor, by his letter contract, was given 
"incidental construction" responsibilities, as the following indicates. 
He was 

... to organize, establish, equip and operate one or more depots in the Middle 
East, India, and Africa for the supply, maintenance and repair of tanks and mis- 
cellaneous ordnance, signal, engineer, chemical warfare, or other military equip- 
ment . . .; to assist in, or carry on, the instruction of British or other personnel 
assigned for that purpose, in the supply, maintenance and repair of such equip- 
ment . . . ; to do such incidental construction as may be directed by the Contract- 
ing Officer. 7 

8 (1) List of Officers, North African Mission, 3 Nov 41. Afr.M. 6/6, NADEF. (2) Ltr 
Contract DA-W-ord-58, dated 24 Jan 42, approved by Secy War 26 Jan 42. J. G. White 
Engrg Corp DA-W-0098, Contract and General Folder, NYODF (New York Ordnance 
District Files, New York). See also Chronology of Development of Contract DA— W— ord-58. 
Head Office, J. G White Engineering Corporation, New York (referred to hereafter as 
White Office) . Background and information supplied in interviews with Lt. Col. Edward Gluck, 
Contracting Officer's Representative, New York Ordnance District on 16 October 1944; 
and with E. N. Chilson, Vice President of White, D. M. Crawford, Secretary, and R. W. 
Gausmann, Engineer, at White Office on 17 October 1944. (3) Memo, Col Miles for CofOrd, 
12 Nov 41, sub: Plans by North African Mil Mission for Aid to British Activities in Near East. 
AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 6. 

'Ltr, Maj Gen Charles M. Wesson to CofEngrs, 11 Feb 42. J. G. White, Confidential 
Correspondence 160/DA-0058, NYODF. 


Since simultaneous supervision and co-ordination implies some over- 
lapping of function and responsibility, and since the planning functions 
of the engineer and ordnance officers and their contractors, particularly 
in structural and engineering design, inevitably overlapped, there was 
some duplication of effort, and some confusion as to final authority 
which was at last resolved by the Chief of Ordnance. In forwarding 
plans and drawings for Middle East ordnance depots to the Engineers, 
Ordnance explained that they were to be considered by the Engineers 
as suggestive only, final decision to be reached in the field by the appro- 
priate chiefs of missions acting through representatives of the Corps 
of Engineers. 

In the case of the ordnance program the familiar pattern of the 
early period was repeated. Planning and procurement had somehow 
to go ahead at full speed while policy, determined by all sorts of war- 
inspired factors, remain fluid. The ordnance planners had therefore to 
determine what installations were to be established, by whom and how 
thev were to be constructed, and how they were to be operated and 
maintained. Under the first heading the program was precise. It pro- 
vided that of seven depots for the Middle East, called Omet 1 to 7, 
three were to be established within the area of the Iranian Mission. 
The largest of these, Omet 1, at Karachi, was to be capable of serving 
the entire Middle East area from the standpoint of supply and dis- 
tribution. Some thirty-six installations there, ranging from small shops 
to new docks, were called for. Twenty-eight more buildings had been 
planned for at Umm Qasr and Baghdad (Omet 4 and 7) . The pro- 
gram covered installations for the Signal and Quartermaster Corps 
and Chemical Warfare Service work, as well as for Ordnance. It 
envisaged putting optical shops and some other buildings underground. 
Most difficult of all, it involved importation of large quantities of 
structural steel from overseas. 8 

Construction decisions were complicated by the Corps of Engineers' 
over-all responsibility in that field assigned by the War Department in 
October. Yet as late as 2 February 1942 the ordnance contractor, 
having been put on notice by the Ordnance Department to prepare 
to do necessary construction, believed that design, construction, and 
installation of machines and equipment for overseas bases was a func- 

8 (1) Revised Plan, J. G. White, 12 Feb 42, initialed by R. W. Gausmann, Actg Gen 
Mgr, Overseas Div. Col Ghick's file, Routine Correspondence ITI, NYODF. That plan 
based upon: (2) Memo, Col Miles for Brig Gen James K. Crain, Chief of Field Sery, Ord 
Dept, 26 Nov 41, sub: Status of Ord Participation in North African and Iran Mil Missions, 
White Office; and (3) Memo, Col Miles, 28 Nov 41, sub: Recommendations for Contractors 
for Middle East Activities, quoted Rpt by Paul D. Olejar, 15 Jun 44, sub: Ord Activities 
in Middle East Missions, pp. 11, 11-a, and n, 16. Hist Sec, Ord Dept, Pentagon. 


tion under its contract. And as late as 27 January the Quartermaster 
Corps, seeking funds for operation of proposed motor vehicle assembly 
plants at Tehran, Karachi, and Bombay, made provision also for pos- 
sible construction of buildings by its contractor, the General Motors 
Overseas Corporation. Engineer construction of installations under the 
ordnance program, however, was definitely confirmed by the date of 
the contractor's revised plan of 1 2 February. 9 

Just as overlapping had developed in the fields of structural and 
engineering design and in provisions for construction of installations, 
so the determination of policy as to operation of projected overseas 
bases ran into even heavier problems of division of labor and assignment 
of responsibilities. At a late stage in planning, in mid-January 1942, 
the Ordnance Department expected its contractor at the several bases 
to operate facilities for repair of tanks, guns, aircraft armaments, optical 
instruments, locomotives, and motor vehicles. In the last-named cate- 
gory, however, a distinction was drawn between operation of projected 
quartermaster repair shops to be done by the ordnance contractor and 
operation of shops for the repair of motor transport vehicles to be done 
by the quartermaster contractor. 10 This problem was not wholly solved 
by the subsequent transfer of the General Motors contract from the 
Quartermaster Corps to the Ordnance Department; and fresh prob- 
lems arose when, as will shortly appear, the ordnance contractor was 
dispensed with and, soon after, the ordnance program itself canceled. 

These decisions were forced in no small degree by the peculiar 
difficulties inherent in assigning to a civilian contractor tasks concerned 
with munitions, which were essentially military. No comparable diffi- 
culties existed in the purely constructional duties of the engineer's 
civilian contractor. From the start of its negotiations with the Ord- 
nance Department the White Corporation had urged that the overseas 
part of its contract "be conducted as a military organization to protect 
workmen in event of capture." u The contractor had estimated that 

' (1) Memo, Overseas Div, J. G. White [n. d.], sub: Confs of 13-15 Jan 42 with Mil 
Missions Sec, Ex Div, Field Serv, OCofOrd, p. 12. White Office. (2) Interoffice Memo, J. G. 
White, 2 Feb 42. White Office. (3) Interoffice Memo, 27 Jan 42; and Ltr, Col Lieber to 
CofEngrs, 27 Dec 41, and Inds, 19 Jan 42 and 20 Feb 42, which noted that a radio from 
General Wheeler of 13 January 1942 indicated that construction of most installations 
would be performed by the British, the American engineers to handle the rest. Iran 24/2-A, 
NADEF. (4) Revised Plan cited n. 8(1). 

10 Notes of Conference held at the offices of Johnson, Drake and Piper, Inc., 15 January 
1942, presided over by Colonel Miles and attended by representatives of Quartermaster, 
Ordnance, the North African Military Mission, its engineer contractor, the ordnance con- 
tractor, but by no representative of the Iranian Mission, save its acting ordnance officer, 
Colonel Miles. J. G. White Folder, MEF. 

11 See chronology cited note 6(2), and Overseas File, White Office, for this and follow- 
ing dated references unless otherwise noted. 


over thirteen hundred American civilians and over sixty-five hundred 
locally employed laborers would be required for the depots at Karachi, 
Umm Qasr, and Baghdad." For some time the military authorities were 
of divided opinion and on 9 December 1941 insisted that, because of the 
need of speed and the dearth of qualified military technical personnel, 
civilians would have to be used. On 2 January 1942 Gano Dunn, Presi- 
dent of the White Corporation, wrote to Brig. Gen. James K. Grain 
that, while continuing to urge that civilian employees overseas "have 
some form of government or related agency status," the contractor 
would carry on. On the date of the signing of the letter contract, 24 
January, the contracting officer instructed the contractor to make no 
commitments on engaging personnel for overseas pending solution of 
the problem of military or civilian operation. That the military then 
were in some doubt of the feasibility of civilian operation was reflected 
in provisions of the letter contract calling for its automatic termina- 
tion if a formal contract was not executed on or before 15 April. On 
31 January a message was dispatched to the North African Mission 
stating that Ordnance favored militarization of the overseas projects. 
On 10 February the contractor was informed, by telephone, that the 
project was to be completely militarized, and on 18 February, by letter, 
of the termination of the contract, effective 14 March. The Chief of 
Ordnance, Maj. Gen. Charles M. Wesson, in a letter congratulating 
the contractor on "the highly efficient manner in which your organi- 
zation attacked this difficult problem," stated that "the sole reason for 
terminating this contract was a War Department decision as to 
policy." 13 

Termination of the ordnance contract reflected a policy decision 
not to operate overseas ordnance depots through a civilian agency. 
The White Corporation was thus the first of the civilian contractors to 
be replaced by the gradual process of militarization. In time the Army 
would possess adequate manpower to militarize the ordnance projects; 
but meanwhile there was the matter of building the required depots. 
The first step in transferring this task to the engineer constructor was 
taken when on 12 March the North Atlantic Division engineer directed 
Folspen to place orders for quotations and deliveries for the proposed 
construction. Henceforward, the engineer constructor moved toward 

u Total estimate for all seven Middle East bases was 15,280 employees, of whom 80 percent 
would be locally hired laborers, Rpt by Overseas Div, J, G, White to WD, OCofOrd, Mar 
42. White Office. 

M (1) Rad 496 AMSEG 170, 31 Jan 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 6. (2) Ltr, Lt 
Col S. F. Clabaugh, Ord Contracting Off, 18 Feb 42. J. G. White, Confidential Correspond- 
ence, 160/DA-0058, RC 24209, NYODF. (3) Ltr, Gen Wesson to J. G. White, 27 Feb 42. 
White Office. 


full responsibility for all phases of construction without the complica- 
tions inherent in collaboration with an ordnance contractor. On 27 
March the Chief of Ordnance inquired of Karachi whether Folspen 
was to erect the more than sixty buildings planned for Karachi, Umm 
Qasr, and Baghdad, and stated that the necessary steel had been pro- 
cured in the United States but that Folspen would have to obtain and 
ship abroad the necessary skilled labor." 

At this point the critical shortage of shipping provided the immedi- 
ate reason for cancellation of the ordnance program. On 6 April the 
War Department decided that "due to shipping conditions ... no 
fixed installations will be established in the territory of the Iranian 
Mission." 15 Although the episode with its alarums and excursions 
suggests the King of France marching up the hill and then marching 
down again, it is a significant part of the story of early planning. With 
invasion threatening from Suez, Anatolia, and the Caucasus, the ord- 
nance program provided for urgent strategic needs. The cancellation 
of planned fixed installations within the area of the Iranian Mission, 
one of those sudden shifts in direction forced by war conditions, recog- 
nized that the odds against the program, including complexities in the 
planning process, had proved for the time being insuperable. 

The Mission's Tasks 

General Wheeler's broad instructions — to advise and assist the 
British, Russian, and other friendly governments within the area of his 
mission in all phases of the transport of American materials for their 
war requirements — embraced the engineer program to establish port 
and transportation facilities as well as the ordnance program to estab- 
lish and operate facilities for the maintenance and repair of American- 
made lend-lease defense articles. His instructions gave General 
Wheeler a direct interest in all phases of the delivery process; but, as 
has been noticed, this interest was in practice circumscribed by the 
Iranian Mission's auxiliary status. General Wheeler could not, there- 

"(1) See under date of 12 March 1942. NA 5440 (Iran DO), NADEF. (2) Rad, 
OCofOrd to Karachi, 27 Mar 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41 ) Sec 4. (3) Early in March, Colonel 
Miles visited General Wheeler, made recommendations for ordnance personnel in Wheeler's 
area, and received Wheeler's approval of the general ordnance plan providing for a great 
base at Karachi, This was reported by Colonel Miles to a meeting of General Maxwell's 
staff on 5 March 1942. Min, Stf Mtg at Cairo, 5 Mar 42. Maxwell Papers (Personal files 
lent by General Maxwell to the Middle East Section of the Office of the Chief of Military 
History and returned to him upon his retirement from the Army) . 

"Memo, Gen Aurand, Dir, Intn Div, for CofOrd, 6 Apr 42. NA 7205 (Iran DO-2/1), 
NADEF. Messages concerning erection of shop buildings at Umm Qasr continued to pass 
between General Somervell's office and the Iranian Mission as late as 21 April. Folder, Umm 
Qasr Assembly Plant, SL X-l 1,737. 


fore, concern himself directly with the berthing of ships, their unload- 
ing, and the transportation of their cargoes to Soviet destinations. 
Direct as was the mission's concern with these steps, such matters, in 
the first phase of the American effort, rested wholly in British hands. 
The port of Basra was operated by a port directorate maintained by the 
government of Iraq under the firm wartime guidance (granted by 
treaty rights) of the British dock directorate. All military traffic was 
handled by the British Army and Navy representatives. General 
Wheeler learned that cargoes destined for the Iranian District engi- 
neer's construction projects would be unloaded by commercial agents 
long established at Basra, and that clearing such cargoes from the docks 
to the site of the American jobs would be done through the British dock 

General Wheeler also found that there was little he could do, 
beyond offering advice and assistance, to facilitate the flow of lend-lease 
goods destined for the Soviet Union. As has already been noted, the 
desire of President Roosevelt to speed help to Russia was providing 
the port of Basra with a steady flow of materiel. William C. Bullitt, 
the President's roving ambassador, visited Basra on 7 January and 
asked questions. General Wheeler told him that the facilities of the 
port were not being used to capacity and that goods were piling up at 
dockside faster than they could be removed. General Wheeler esti- 
mated that only about one quarter of Basra port's tonnage capacity 
was actually clearing the docks. Important as was the flow of goods 
to Anglo-American projects and to Soviet receiving points, and direct 
as was General Wheeler's interest in this flow, the responsibility for 
management and control of port and transportation facilities was 
not his. 16 

Movement of traffic, being closely bound up with British treaty 
obligations for security, was not easily shared with an auxiliary which 
possessed no combat troops in the region and, until late 1942, only a 
handful of service forces. But industrial operations could be shared. 
In addition to those planned for Engineers and Ordnance, there were 
operations for the assembly of motor vehicles and aircraft. To supple- 
ment aircraft assembly being carried on by the British at their base 
at Shu'aiba, one or more new plants had been included in planning 
talks at Cairo. Prompt selection of a site was essential. After conference 
with British headquarters, Tenth Army, Baghdad, and with the con- 
currence of the Royal Air Force, of Maj. Gen. George H. Brett, Chief 
of the Air Corps, and of Brig. Gen. Elmer E. Adler, Chief of the Air 

" (1) Memo, Gen Wheeler for Bullitt, 7 Jan 42. 323.91 Ports, SL 9008. (2) DE File 
P-9, Ports and Harbor Facilities, NADEF. 


Section, U.S. Military North African Mission, General Wheeler chose 
the island of Abadan in the Shatt al Arab below Khorramshahr. Selec- 
tion of a site for the motor vehicle assembly plant, which had been in- 
cluded in early planning for somewhere at the head of the Persian 
Gulf, followed the Abadan decision. The choice, concurred in by the 
Russians, fell upon Andimeshk, an Iranian town on the main line of 
the Iranian State Railway, and was approved by the Commander-in- 
Chief, India, when on 8 January General Wheeler conferred with 
him at New Delhi. A second assembly plant for motor vehicles, also 
included in the early planning, was determined upon for Karachi on 
the assumption, not yet invalidated by developments, that delivery to 
the Soviets would be effected via the east Iranian overland route which 
ended at Meshed. While the American plants at Abadan and Andi- 
meshk were being made ready for operations, the Iranian Mission, in- 
itially through Colonel Gillies, furnished technical assistance to the 
British assembly operations. 17 

On 19 January General Wheeler sent to Washington a list of proj- 
ects for the Iranian Mission. 18 These projects comprised dock, railway, 
and highway construction in Iraq and Iran; motor vehicle assembly 
in Iran and India; motor vehicle reconditioning, rebuilding, repairing, 
and servicing in Iran and India; the ordnance projects for Iraq and 
India, later canceled; projects for the assembly, repair, and transfer 
of lend-lease aircraft at points in Iraq, Iran, and India ; repair of radio 
direction-finding equipment at Agra, India; establishment of schools 
in Iraq, Iran, and India to teach operation and maintenance of Ameri- 
can-made motor vehicles, tanks, and aircraft ; and American participa- 
tion in a proposed joint commission of representatives of Iran, Great 
Britain, and the USSR to supervise operation of the railway. In all, 
there were 31 projects, spread over a large area. Of these 15 were 
eliminated by subsequent planning, 4 were undertaken by the British, 
2 were started by the Americans but transferred to the British, and 10 

" ( 1 ) For an account of the considerations affecting the decision and of requests to the 
British to facilitate arrangements, see 092.2 Agreement Concerning Use of Abadan Air Field, 
SL 8978, especially documents dated 29 December 1941 and 13 January 1942 and incJosures, 
(2) History: United States Military Iranian Mission, 20 Mar 43. prepared for Col Don G. 
Shingler, Chief of Mission, by 1st Lt Victor E. Dietze, Hist Off. PGF 242. (3) The Karachi 
motor vehicle assembly plans were abandoned because of Soviet objection to the east Iran 
delivery route as landing cargoes too far from the battle lines. See radio, Faymonville to 
Wheeler, 22 January, and reply, Shingler (for Wheeler) to Faymonville, 24 January 1942, 
stating the Zahidan— Meshed route would not be used for lend-lease deliveries by the Ameri- 
cans. 323.91 Ports, SL 9008. 

18 Inclosed in Ltr, Gen Wheeler to Gen Moore, 19 Jan 42. WDCSA 381 Egypt (1-19-42). 
A similar list, but differing in some details, included in Memo, Chief, Home Office, Iranian 
Mission, for Defense Aid Dir, 23 Jan 42. 320 Mis Br, Intn Div, ASF NCF (Army Service 
Forces Noncurrent Classified Files). 


were undertaken and carried out by the Americans. Of these 10, 2 
represented American technical assistance to British projects at 
Shu'aiba and Bushire. The remaining 8 were all located in Iran. 

The breakdown of projects, not all of which, of course, were to be 
undertaken at once, is sufficient reminder of the hazards of planning 
and the obstacles to performance. Under such conditions, procurement 
and shipment of personnel and the allocation of limited field resources 
to specific projects were as systematic and dependable as the game of 

Arrival in Iraq 

The first to learn this hard fact were the civilians of the Iranian 
District engineer's constructor, Folspen, who, together with military 
members of the Iranian, USSR, and North African Missions, and the 
North African District engineer's civilian contractor's men, sailed from 
Brooklyn in the U.S. Army Transport Siboney on a coldly raining 
Christmas Eve, 1941. On the following 14 February they disembarked 
in the bright sunshine of Basra. 19 

The Umm Qasr job had received highest priority in early January 
while the men were at sea ; so, without stopping to savor the attractions 
of Basra, home port of Sinbad the Sailor, for the Folspen men it was 
Umm Qasr the day after landing. A long line of borrowed British lorries 
took the group of 1 1 7 civilians, and some of the 9 officers and 10 enlisted 
men who had landed with them, forty or fifty miles across the desert 
to Umm Qasr by the waters of the Khor Abdullah. Exactly how far 
they drove it is impossible to say, for they traversed a waste space 
marked only by camel caravans. For the last miles there was no road. 
They had come to build one. And they drove that day only to a name 
on a map. "There is absolutely nothing there," reported a British sur- 
vey of late 1941. What had once stood when there was a sort of port at 
Umm Qasr in World War I had long since sunk into the low shores 
of the Khor, or been consumed by the desert. As it was not known 
whether the site was accessible by sea, the Americans' ship had gone on 
to Basra while the British surveyed the Khor to determine the naviga- 
bility of the channel to the site of the proposed docks at Umm Qasr. 20 

18 The North African Mission people had landed at Massawa, Eritrea, on 2 February. 
The Basra landing date, because of contradictions in Army radios and reports, is fixed by 
the personal diary of Arthur W. DuBois, Chief of Party of the Folspen men on the voyage. 
Margil, the dock area of Basra, was the landing point. 

10 (1) T. tr cited n, 5(2), (2) Strength figures in available reports for this period are incon- 
sistent. See IChart 2\ Those given for Iranian Mission personnel on the Siboney are from 
a memorandum trom the Chief of Staff prepared for the President, 17 January 1942. 
AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 1. Previous to the arrival at Margil there were about 15 officers 


There was something on the map besides the name when the 
Americans arrived. They found a rough camp prepared for them by 
the British. Nissen huts for two hundred men had been promised, and 
seventeen, all incomplete, were standing, six of which were needed at 
once for warehousing. Water, brought from Basra in a British-built 
pipeline, was subject to occasional interruption by Bedouin attracted 
by its accessibility for their parched flocks. Reservoirs being built by 
the British were not finished. There was no light save what could be 
provided by lanterns and candles until a small generator arrived in 
March on the first supply ship, the City of Dalhart, when there was 
power enough for the mess and recreation huts. The camp, with only 
the desert track behind it and the Khor Abdullah before it, was well 
guarded by British Gurkhas against the curiosity of Arabs and camels. 
There was no refrigeration — and consequent food spoilage. This was 
war in the Middle East and the men settled down to fight it out. 21 

The Iranian District engineer's first jobs were to build two berths 
at Umm Qasr with necessary rail and road approaches, shops, ware- 
houses, and housing; to build a rail line 27 miles north across the desert 
to Rafadiyah Station on the meter-gauge line from Basra to Baghdad, 
and 8.4 miles of highway between Shu'aiba and Margil; and to build 
an equipment yard and machine shops at Rafadiyah. 22 There were 
other jobs to come, at Baghdad and in Iran; but these had top priority. 

The engineer's most pressing problems were housing and moving 
equipment off the ship and down to the site of work at Umm Qasr. 
Division of construction responsibility between the British and the 
Americans, assigned at higher levels, entailed overlapping which had 
to be ironed out on the spot through the co-operation of the British 
forces and the Iranian Mission. The earliest discussions in Washington 
had led to a general undertaking by the British to provide necessary 

and 10 enlisted men in the field. Colonel Lieber had arrived at Baghdad on 2 February 
with Prentis and Sells of Folspen. By late February there were about 26 officers, 2 warrant 
officers, and 18 enlisted men divided between the mission headquarters at Baghdad, the 
mission field office at Marine House, Ashar, Basra, and the Iranian District engineer's 
headquarters at Umm Qasr. By 10 April, with the military numbers essentially the same 
and about equally divided between the mission and the district engineer, the number of 
civilians at the site of work was 192 with Folspen and 21 on the district engineer's staff. 
Ltr, Col Shingler to CG, SOS, 10 Apr 42, sub: Status of U. S. Mil Iranian Mission. 
PGF 26-A. ( 3 ) British Rpt, Persian Gulf Ports and Inland Transport Facilities and Organi- 
zations: Report on a Visit to Iraq and Persia, October 5th-November 2d, by R. S. Mactier, 
Basra, 1 Nov 41. PGF 26-A. (4) Memo, Col Gillies for Gen Wheeler, 17 Feb 42. Folder, 
Khor Abdullah Survey, SLX-1 1,737. 

"Charles H. Sells, Report of the Foreign Manager, 10 Mar 43. SWP Office. 

a A memorandum from Colonel Lieber to the Iranian Mission field office, Basra, 16 Febru- 
ary 1942, notes that the rail line from Umm Qasr to Rafadiyah Station was built by British 
troop labor; but Foreign Directive 1 of 4 April to Folspen assigned the work to the American 
constructors. Unmarked folder, SL X-l 1,737. For engineer directives to the constructor, 
see note 5(3). 


construction for the proposed American installations, an arrangement 
consistent with the provision of the President's Middle East Directive 
concerning division of financial responsibility. Under the directive, 
it was 

. . . contemplated that a major part of the cost of the proposed projects will be 
incurred in Sterling or local currencies and will be discharged by the British. 
Defense Aid funds should be used only to the extent of unavoidable dollar expend- 
itures, such as for pay and allowances for American overhead and skilled 
mechanics, and materials to be procured in the United States. 

The record shows that in January it was understood in Washington 
that the British would accomplish construction, but that if any should 
have to be done by the Americans it would be handled by the Iranian 
District engineer. Under date of 21 January Washington asked General 
Wheeler to confirm that "construction for both personnel and equip- 
ment everywhere in your area will be handled by the British," to which 
he replied, on 17 February, "All houses, equipment and personnel for 
project, including truck [assembly], ordnance depots, and airplane 
assembly plants are to be built by British." He went on to report that, 
the War Office in London having recently raised the question of divi- 
sion of work and financial responsibility between American and British 
forces, it had been arranged that all local expense was to be borne 
by the British, who were also to prepare sites and construct shops and 
housing before the arrival of the Americans. The ambiguities in the 
arrangement were reflected in a further passage stating, "Americans 
will necessarily provide some housing of their own, shops and ware- 
houses, and will furnish practically all materials and equipment for 
their projects." This understanding, he explained, was to assuage 
British fears "that all work should have to be done by them and that 
all we provided were technicians who would supervise complete run- 
ning installations." General Wheeler's message paid warm tribute to 
the British : "Cooperation and assistance by British Headquarters, in 
all preparatory work, have been very cordial, both at Delhi and 
Iraq." 33 

Nevertheless, there stood the seventeen Nissen huts and the un- 
inviting desert to greet the new arrivals. They soon learned that the 

23 (1) Ltr and Inds cited n. 9(3). Rad AMSIR 10, 21 Jan 42. MID 400.3295, 
1-21-42 (1-6-42). (3) Rad AMSIR BAG 19, 17 Feb 42. AG 400.3295 (2-17-42) MSG. 
Another copy NA 2051 (Iran DO) 4/1-S, NADEF. (4) A note of caution had been struck 
by an American air officer doing preliminary reconnaissance for Air Corps proposed instal- 
lations in the Basra area. He is quoted in a quartermaster memorandum of 15 November 
1941 as saying, "There are no adequate living quarters at Basra worth mentioning and the 
Air Corps figures on going into this area 100 per cent independent." The memorandum 
suggests "that we depend on the British for nothing, despite any assurances to the contrary." 
Iran 43/3, NADEF. 


British had troubles of their own and that, with them as with the 
Americans in those early days, plan was not always translated instantly 
into performance. The Americans therefore set to work to build, a 
process which led to some further on-the-spot adjustment of the general 
high-level arrangements for division of financial responsibility. It was 
held by some of the British that they were to attend to local procure- 
ment of labor and materials — in accordance with the general practice 
of the first year or so of the American effort — and that the Americans 
would act in this respect through established local channels. There 
was no clear understanding on the details of this point, which affected 
considerations of local currency and economic conditions. When, there- 
fore, the British presented bills to the Iranian District engineer for 
certification and reimbursement in dollar exchange, convenience 
dictated occasional direct procurement by the Americans. 24 

The serious delays experienced in unloading American materials 
and equipment from the first two ships were only partly attributable 
to absence of direct American controls over the operations at shipside. 
Cargo from the Siboney was got down to Umm Qasr by the end of 
February. When the City of Dalhart arrived, the district engineer 
learned with consternation that the crane which he had designated 
before he left New York to be carried as a deckload in order to speed 
discharge at Basra had been stowed by transportation experts at the 
port of embarkation in the very boweis of the ship and heaped over 
with loose wheat. Weeks were lost in unloading the City of Dalhart, 
delaying work on dock construction at Umm Qasr until 1 April. 25 

Meanwhile work continued on housing at Umm Qasr ; but British 
construction at Shu'aiba and Rafadiyah languished. Colonel Lieber 
reported on 28 March : 

The British authorities are far behind expectations in providing housing for 
our administrative group at Shu'aiba and have just started the footers for the 
warehouse and shop at the Rafadiyah Yard where we are assembling vehicles in 
the open with occasional dust or sandstorms. I have been pressing this and finally 
got action by stating that I should have to trim off the Umm Qasr [housing and 
ordnance shop] projects to do the Rafadiyah and Shu'aiba construction. 2 " 

All Change — New Priority 

On the shore by the Khor Abdullah, April started auspiciously. 
The sun and the desert wind, stirring up dust and sand, spurred the 
Americans at Umm Qasr to get on with their job before summer, the 

" Interv with Col Lieber, Pentagon, 10 Feb 49. 

M Ibid. 

M Ltr, Col Lieber to Engr, NAD, 28 Mar 42. NA 2144 (Iran DO) I-A, NADEF. 


enemy, arrived. Plant and enough equipment to begin had been brought 
down from the ships at Basra. There were 3 pile rigs and 5 tractors, a 
grader, 3 shovels, 2 truck cranes, 2 concrete mixers, 8 air compressors, 
1 1 dump trucks, and 20 miscellaneous vehicles. In the first five days of 
work the wharf approach fill had been graded, the rigs set in place, and 
pile driving begun. There were materials enough at the site for housing 
the constructor's men and for about thirty-five hundred feet of wharf. 
Two more ships, the Texmar and the Granville, lay off Umm Qasr and 
the discharge of their cargoes of timber and piling was under way, 
made no easier by the fact that there was as yet no wharf. 27 

Then, on the fifth day, suddenly and without previous intimation 
of what was impending, a message arrived from Washington : "Con- 
sideration is now being given to a revision of your projects. Suspend all 
operations on Umm Qasr project until further instructions." 2S 

The order was received by the American command with surprise, by 
British headquarters at Baghdad with dismay. Uncertain as to its impli- 
cations for the future, Colonel Shingler immediately stopped the un- 
loading of the two ships, since reloading across the beach would be 
impossible should the timber and piling be required at other sites. On 7 
April Shingler told the Folspen officials that both the wharf and railway 
projects were to be abandoned. Messages flew to Washington and back. 
In a few days projects were resumed on the condition that only local 
materials be used. At this time Folspen was given the first hint that 
construction was to be militarized. On 10 April Washington confirmed 
that the Iraqi construction projects would be indefinitely suspended. 
Top priority had been shifted to the Iranian projects. On 1 7 April dock 
construction with local materials was stopped by oral order, confirmed 
in writing on the 25th. The highway construction from Shu'aiba to 
Margil was canceled on 9 May, and work on the railway from Umm 
Qasr to Rafadiyah Station stopped on 1 1 May. Meanwhile, the ord- 
nance program for buildings at Umm Qasr and Baghdad had been can- 
celed on 6 April. Only the technical assistance to the British assembly 
operations at the shops at Rafadiyah and Shu'aiba was to go on. Leav- 

"Ltr cited n. 20(2). 

18 (1) Received at the site 5 April, the radio, No. 57, Somervell to Shingler, was dated 
4 April 1942. PGF 259. Another copy 323.61 Establishment of Military Districts, Binder 1, 
SL 9008. (2) Other documents basic to the account of the suspension at Umm Qasr: RAD 
28, Gen George C. Marshall to Lt Gen Joseph W. Stilwell and Gen Wheeler, 3 Apr 42. 
PGF 259. Rad, Lt Col Maxwell W. Tracy, Chief, Home Office, Iranian Mission, to Col 
Shingler, 10 Apr 42. AG 323.61, Hq PGC (AG decimal files seen at Headquarters, Persian 
Gulf Command, Tehran, now filed at the Kansas City Records Center, AGO, Kansas City, 
Mo.). Ltr, Hq, Tenth Army to GHQ, MEF, 17 Apr 42. PGF 26-A. (3) Other dates in 
text are from Progress Review cited in n. 4. (4) Incidental information on the suspension 
supplied by interviews already cited. 


ing a handful of men behind in Iraq, the Americans moved across the 
boundary to begin again in Iran. On 27 May the Iranian District engi- 
neer established his headquarters at Ahwaz, followed on 1 June by 
Folspen. Regretfully they refused British pleas that they leave their 
equipment behind for Tenth Army, which was to take over the Iraqi 
commitments in support of the British line of communications. 

Behind this sudden termination of the American construction proj- 
ects in Iraq and the transfer of the engineer forces to Iran lay a funda- 
mental change in high policy. Whereas, following General Wheeler's 
conferences with General Wavell in India, the first weight of the Ameri- 
can effort had been thrown into support of the British line of communi- 
cations in Iraq, the emphasis was now shifted to the building up of 
the Persian Corridor supply line to the Soviet Union. During the early 
planning period before Pearl Harbor it had been expected that the 
Iranian Mission would be able to carry out both of these lend-lease 
functions. As the President put it in his report to Congress on the first 
year of lend-lease, the Iranian Mission was organized "to improve 
transport and communications in the area from Baghdad to Agra, 
India, and from Umm Qasr, Iraq, to Tehran, Iran, a region stra- 
tegically important as a supply line to Russia and as a barrier on the 
road from the west to India." 29 But as this narrative has shown, the 
increased demands upon American resources after Pearl Harbor made 
it necessary for the Iranian Mission to do one thing at a time. The 
January decision to begin in Iraq followed. 

Nevertheless, even as the Iraqi projects got under way, the im- 
pelling need to strengthen aid to Russia was slowly but surely shaping 
the decisions which led to the shift to Iran. To recapitulate : first came 
the President's order of 28 December 1941 to the Secretary of War 
to meet the protocol commitments to Russia. Next was the President's 
inquiry of 16 January 1942 to the Chief of Staff as to the possible re- 
inforcement of the two Middle East missions. Then came the War 
Department directive of 18 February on the militarization of overseas 
contract activities, looking forward to the time when service troops 
could undertake an increased program to move supplies to the Soviet 
Union. Next was the President's directive to Donald Nelson ordering 
top priority for the release of Russian-aid lend-lease materials, followed 
by the order to Admiral Land to give top priority to Russian-aid ship- 
ping. By early April preliminary plans to militarize the Iranian Mission 
called for the dispatch to the Corridor of large numbers of service 
troops in the latter part of the year, and these plans made urgent the 

a Report to Congress on Lend-Lease Operations for Year Ended March 11, 1942, p. 30. 


preparation of housing and installations for their use upon arrival. At 
the time of the suspension of American construction work in Iraq, Gen- 
eral Somervell informed Colonel Shingler, "movement of materiel to 
Russia must be accorded top priority"; to achieve maximum move- 
ment Washington believed, as did London, that it would be essential 
to build up the capacity of the Iranian ports of Khorramshahr and 
Bandar Shahpur in order to make the best use of the ISR. 30 

The overriding urgency of stepping up aid to Russia was the basic 
reason for the sudden alteration in the priority of the Iranian Mission's 
tasks; but there was another factor, India. In accordance with early 
planning, General Wheeler's responsibilities had included projects for 
Karachi, Bombay, and Agra. In consequence he was frequently at New 
Delhi, leaving his chief of staff, Colonel Shingler, in charge at Baghdad 
headquarters. 31 As it related to the Iranian Mission, the first problem 
of India for the American planners was the extent to which American 
bases of activity should be planted there and used for Middle East and 
Russian-aid supply; and the second, the problem of command, grew 
out of the first. 

In October 1941, in Washington, Maj. Gen. Richard C. Moore, 
Deputy Chief of Staff, discussed with Lt. Gen. H. C. B. Wemyss, of the 
British Joint Staff Mission, the extent to which the United States should 
route supplies for the Persian Corridor via India. Minutes of a confer- 
ence held on 6 October at the War Plans Division, War Department, 
reveal some difference of opinion. The British view was that, pending 
the improvement of Persian Gulf ports, Indian ports should be used. 
The Americans were disinclined to commit themselves and, in a memo- 
randum of 18 October for the Chief of Staff, observed that the use of 
India as a supply base might result in the damming up of the flow of 
American supplies to Iran because of "physical or military restrictions 
or both," and that if there should be such a stoppage, it should occur 
in "territory where United States authority predominates," whence 
material could be diverted elsewhere. The problem was the degree of 
control Americans could exercise over their lend-lease shipments 
through foreign lands. General Wheeler had at this time already been 
appointed chief of the Iranian Mission, his Letter of Instructions was 

" (1) Rad AMSIR WASH 96, Somervell to Shingler, 10 Apr 42. 323.91 Ports, SL 
9008. (2) Some weeks before the stop order was received at Umm Qasr, Colonel Shingler, 
anticipating that general planning for militarization later in the year would require greatly 
increased housing, requested and received from General Wheeler authority to proceed to 
housing construction on the assumption that this sort of project lay beyond the scope of 
British construction commitments. Memo, Shingler for Wheeler, 21 Mar 42. 323.61 Estab- 
lishment of Military Districts, Binder 1, SL 9008. 

11 Moved to Basra, 15 Mar 42. Memo, Col Shingler for Q-l, Hq, Tenth Army, Baghdad. 
File, Iranian Mission, SL X-l 1,737. 


issued three days later, and he was soon to leave for Hawaii en route via 
New Delhi to Baghdad. The conferences at New Delhi seem to have 
clarified the problem. When General Wheeler reported to Washing- 
ton during the talks with General Wavell in November, he accepted the 
British desire to use western Indian ports for Iranian shipments with no 
fears such as had been expressed previously in Washington. He strongly 
urged the use of Bombay and Karachi to take the strain from Basra, 
Bandar Shahpur, and Bushire. When the ordnance and quartermaster 
plans were added to other American plans to assist the British in the 
Middle East, India figured prominently as a site for installations. 32 

In fact, India increasingly figured in American planning as a base 
not only for Persian Corridor and other Middle East needs, but also for 
lend-lease aid to India and, even more important, American Army 
requirements in the area. Because of uncertainty as to Japanese inten- 
tions in the Indian Ocean, Bombay and Karachi were more likely can- 
didates than more exposed Indian ports. On 28 February 1942 the 
War Department, taking into consideration the supply needs of Ameri- 
can and Chinese forces in China, India, and Burma, assigned General 
Wheeler to the command of a Services of Supply ( SOS ) organization 
for the American Army forces in the region. Wheeler was to continue 
as chief of the Iranian Mission. 33 

By this time it was already apparent, from developments in Jan- 
uary, that the overland delivery route, Zahidan-Meshed, would not be 
acceptable to the Russians for lend-lease deliveries. Karachi, Bom- 
bay, and India itself were thus all but eliminated as points in the Ameri- 
can supply line to Russia. The new Commanding General, Services 
of Supply, China-Burma-India, was therefore concerned not with 
Russian aid, but with supply for the CBI theater. After his arrival 
in India to take over his command, Wheeler informed Washington 
that in his opinion all proposed American installations in India should 
be under the "American commander in India, General Stilwell, includ- 
ing Iranian Mission projects. . . ." 34 The separation of the Iranian 
Mission's Persian Corridor activities from its Indian projects followed, 
accompanied by command rearrangements. 

On 3 April General Marshall by radio relieved Wheeler as chief of 
the Iranian Mission, detached India from the area included in that 
mission's responsibilities, continued Karachi nevertheless as a base for 
the two American Middle East missions, and instructed Wheeler to 

33 (1) Memo for CofS, 18 Oct 41, points 4, 5. Filed, with other documents alluded to, 
AG400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 8. (2) Msg cited n. 3(2). 

M Rad AMSIR BAG 120, Gen Marshall to Gen Wheeler, 28 Feb 42. AG 381 (2-24- 
42) (2). 

" Rad AMSIR 61, 7 Mar 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41 ) Sec 4. 


make further plans for Karachi and elsewhere solely on the basis of the 
requirements of SOS, CBI. The message added that Colonel Shingler 
would replace Wheeler as chief of mission. Next day, 4 April, General 
Somervell appointed Shingler chief and notified him that the Iranian 
Mission and its personnel were no longer under the Secretary of War 
but under his own SOS command. 35 

The brief Iraqi episode, beset with the confusion that attends new 
and untried enterprises, ended upon a note of clear-cut decision. Hence- 
forth, as the Americans established themselves in Iran, their strength 
was to be applied to an ever increasing assumption of that part of the 
British program in the Corridor which was concerned with aid to 

35 (1) Rads, 4, 3 Apr cited n. 28(1), (2). (2) Control of the War Department's Overseas 
lend-lease missions passed, in the reorganization of March 1942, to Operations Division; 
but OPD agreed on 29 March to its being taken over by SOS. Memo, Maj Gen Dwight D. 
Eisenhower to Somervell, 29 Mar 42, sub: Contl of Missions. OPD 210.684, 3, Effective 
1 April, the Secretary of War transferred all such missions from OPD to SOS. On 9 April 
they were officially assigned to International Division (General Aurand, Director), formerly 
the Defense Aid Division, with the intention of combining all the separate home offices of 
missions into a single Missions Branch. Rpt by Home Office, U.S. Mil Mission to USSR, 
for period 5-25 Apr 42, SL X-l 1,737. 


Interlude of the Mission 
to the USSR 

While the Iranian Mission was tackling its first assignment in Iraq, 
a second War Department mission was at large in the Persian Corridor. 
Conceived in logic, born in ambiguity, the U.S. Military Mission to 
the USSR 1 was doomed to the functionlessness of a fifth wheel on a 
cart. After six months, only three of them spent in the field, it expired in 
frustration. Its brief career is as much a part of the Russian-aid pro- 
gram as are the more successful efforts which followed it. 

Why and Where? 

Lend-lease to Great Britain involved not only the procurement and 
shipment of defense materials, but a permissive follow-through in 
certain instances on the part of the United States until the recipient 
was able to use the materials himself. In the case of complicated ma- 
chines like tanks and aircraft, American technicians sometimes went 
along with shipments to British recipients and were as indispensable as 
the doctor's directions on a bottle of medicine. In Egypt American 
officers observed the performance of American materials, and Ameri- 
can technicians organized the means for instructing the British in the 
operation and maintenance of unfamiliar American products. 

After the First (Moscow) Protocol of 1 October 1941 pledged 
specific quantities of American materials for Russian aid and a mission 
under Colonel Faymonville — representing the civilian-controlled 
Lend-Lease Administration — was established in Moscow, steps were 
taken to provide the same sort of accommodation for the Soviets in 
anticipation of the impending declaration (to come on 7 November) 

1 Called at first by various names ; this designation became official by 3d Ind by TAG 
of 2 Dec 41 to Memo, USSR Mission Home Office for TAG, 18 Nov 41. Folder, U.S. Military 
Mission to USSR, SL X-l 1,737. 


of USSR eligibility for lend-lease. The Air Force developed a plan to 
make available a detachment of officers, enlisted men, and civilians "to 
render technical advice and to supervise the maintenance of American 
aircraft" to be furnished the Soviets under lend-lease. The Ordnance 
Department proposed organizing "a group of civilian experts" under 
contract to Amtorg, Soviet-American trading company, to instruct 
the Russians in the care and maintenance of ordnance, especially tanks. 
Technicians were engaged and held in readiness late in October to 
depart, when word reached Washington that the Moscow government 
would issue no visas for them. Although Ambassador Laurence Stein- 
hardt was assured by Andrei Y. Vyshinsky, Vice-Chairman, Council of 
Peoples' Commissars, that visas would be immediately telegraphed to 
Washington, they were not promptly forthcoming. The plan languished 
as the United States made clear that it did not insist on sending this sort 
of aid, its wish being to make technical assistance available only if 
desired. 2 

This reluctance to receive civilian technicians within Soviet borders, 
prophetic of the rock in the stream of co-operation upon which the 
USSR Mission was later to founder, was making itself manifest just as 
that mission was being established by the designation on 28 October of 
Maj. Gen. John N. Greely as its chief. 3 The Maxwell and Wheeler 
missions, established under the provisions of the Middle East Directive, 
had been in existence for one month. The time lag in the organization 
of the Greely mission is explained on two grounds. First, the status of 
the Soviet Union relative to lend-lease was not yet fixed as was the 
status of Great Britain; and secondly, there was the Faymonville mis- 
sion at Moscow. At the time that Colonel Faymonville was designated 
to remain in Moscow in charge of lend-lease matters, there was some 
War Department opinion in favor of replacing him by "the assignment 
of a Brigadier General to head that mission with a status similar to that 
of Generals Magruder, Maxwell, and Wheeler." * After a month's 
time, and with no alteration in the status of the Faymonville mission, 
the U.S. Military Mission to the USSR was established. It was logical 
to set up a War Department lend-lease mission for the USSR on the 
analogy of those created for Great Britain. It was ambiguous to do so 

2 (1) Memo, Lt Gen Henry H. Arnold for CofS, 27 Oct 41; Memo, Gen Crain for 
Defense Aid Dir, 27 Oct 41; and Memo, Gen Moore for CofS, 28 Oct 41. AG 400.3295 
(8-14-41) Sec 3. (2) Rad, Hopkins to Col Faymonville, 28 Oct 41, and other papers, 
cited MS Index to the Hopkins Papers, Vol. I, Bk. IV, Harriman-Beaverbrook Mission, 
p. 9, Items 37, 38. 

3 Bv oral instructions of CofS. See Ltr of Instructions, Secy War to Gen Greely, 5 Nov 41. 
AG 400.3295 (8-14-41) Sec 1. Another copy Folder, U.S. Military Mission to USSR, 
SLX-1 1,737. 

« Memo, Gen Miles, G-2, for CofS, 30 Sep 41. AG 400.3295 (8-14-41 ) Sec 3. 


without settling the relationship between the new military mission and 
the existent civilian one. The new USSR Mission was ordered to pro- 
ceed by an undesignated route to Kuybyshev, the auxiliary Russian 
capital some five hundred miles east of Moscow. On 19 November The 
New York Times reported that an American military mission was 
about to leave for Archangel. On that same day, having heard the 
news via a London broadcast, Colonel Faymonville addressed an in- 
quiry to Washington : "With regard to mission of John Greely to North 
Russia, announced in London broadcast, information is requested as 
to duration, object and composition of said mission." To job seekers 
who wanted to go along, General Greely wrote that the publicity was 
"unauthorized and inexact." To Faymonville went a vague but re- 
assuring reply and the promise that he would be kept informed. 5 

General Greely's Letter of Instructions defined his "principal func- 
tion" as assurance of "the timely establishment and operation of supply, 
maintenance, and training facilities as required by present and con- 
templated Russian or other friendly operations within or based upon 
your area." The area was to be that controlled by the USSR with 
boundaries, for administrative purposes, to be settled in agreement 
with the chiefs of the China and Iranian Missions with notice to the 
Secretary of War. In all other respects the authority and duties granted 
and enjoined were identical with those contained in General Wheeler's 
Letter of Instructions. 

Two points require stress. First, at the time of the formation of the 
USSR Mission its training and observation functions bulked large in 
the minds of the planners. Although published months after the situa- 
tion had altered drastically, the President's report to the Congress on 
the first year of lend-lease described the early conception of the Greely 
mission. It read: 

Russian Mission: The major assignments of this mission will be to instruct 
Russia's soldiers in the characteristics of American-made weapons, and to decide 
by observation on the spot, supplemented by knowledge of our domestic problems, 
what types of aid we can best supply. Aside from what they can contribute to 
Russia's effort, the experience these officers will gain from their participation in the 
Russian campaign will be of priceless value to the general staff of our own Army. 8 

Second, General Greely has recorded that it was first intended that 
his mission would enter Russia through Archangel, to which port, along 
with Murmansk, supplies for the Soviet Union were still flowing in 
1941. By the end of November, however, plans had crystallized suffi- 

5 (1 ) Rad, Col Faymonville to Gen Sidney Spalding, 19 Nov 41, with reply, 25 Nov 41. 
334.8 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. (2) Private Ltrs. Folder, U.S. Military Mission to USSR, 

SLX-1 1,737. 

"Report to Congress on Lend-Lease Operations for Year Ended March 11, 1942, p. 27. 


ciently for him to write that he expected to depart for Iran, going 
thence into the Soviet Union/ These two points, the purpose of the 
mission as an operating entity and its admission into Russia, were to 
loom large during the ensuing five months. Purpose and destination 
were separate but interacting problems. Both were affected, during the 
period when effort was made to solve them, by the fact of the mission's 
creation by analogy with other War Department lend-lease missions 
in spite of the existence of the civilian mission in Russia. The interaction 
of all forces made for ambiguity. The cloudy vagueness grew yet more 
cloudy after the decision to go to the USSR via Iran. Would there be 
room in the Corridor for two military missions with overlapping powers 
and duties? Under the circumstances, what were Greely's duties? 

Fifth Wheel 

In requesting the Secretary of War for twelve officers and twelve 
enlisted men for foreign service and five officers to staff the home office 
in Washington, Greely described the primary duty of the mission as 
supervisory. His staff as approved for overseas duty included, besides 
Col. John N. Hauser, chief of staff, an executive officer, an adjutant, 
an interpreter; and quartermaster, finance, air, medical, ordnance, and 
signals officers. At the first staff meeting, held in Washington on 3 De- 
cember, it was brought out that General Greely planned to fly to Basra 
in January. Discussion of the change in destination of cargoes, formerly 
intended for Archangel and now awaiting ships for Basra, indicated 
that the USSR Mission's home office, which gathered information on 
Soviet needs and how to meet them, was occupied with the procure- 
ment and shipping aspects of the Letter of Instructions. The supervisory 
duties, regarded at the beginning by Greely as primary, would fall 
within the shipping and delivery aspects of the lend-lease process. 
But inasmuch as late November planning by the USSR Mission defi- 
nitely envisaged a stay of uncertain duration in Iran en route to the 
USSR, supervision of the delivery of tanks, planes, and other materials 
of war within the Persian Corridor immediately raised the question of 
division of labor between the Greely and Wheeler missions. To be sure, 
General Wheeler's primary function at the start was construction; but 
by his Letter of Instructions he was as deeply involved in all other 
stages of the delivery process as was Greely. The engineer report drawn 

7 (1) John N. Greely, Rpt of the U.S. Military Mission to the USSR, 1941-42, with 
attachments, 11 May 42. 334.8 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. (Cited hereafter as Final Rpt.) 
(2) Ltr, Gen Greely to Col Walter M. Robertson, 27 Nov 41. Folder, U.S. Military Mission 
to USSR, SLX-1 1,737. 


up in Washington in late November attempted to distinguish between 
Wheeler's sole control of all War Department operations in the theater 
based on the Persian Gulf including supervision of direct deliveries of 
war materials in Iraq and Iran, and Greely's responsibility for delivery 
to Russia. But it was a distinction without a difference. The two func- 
tions were virtually identical. 8 

More serious even was the inadequate realization in Washington at 
this time of what the word delivery meant in actual practice in the 
field. If it meant assembly of aircraft and motor vehicles and their dis- 
patch from the assembly plants to near-by or remote Soviet receiving 
points by a variety of means of transport, then General Wheeler's mis- 
sion was clearly responsible for this aspect of the lend-lease delivery 
process. If, on the other hand, planners in Washington thought of 
delivery as the movement and transportation of cargoes within the 
Persian Corridor, then the British Army was clearly responsible, and 
all any American could do was to advise and assist, which was just 
what General Wheeler was already doing. 

General Greely was aware of the potential overlap of two missions 
in one area. It is not clear what Washington thought delivery meant. At 
all events, Greely saw no reason to unfold American uncertainties to 
the Russians. He therefore suggested that the War Department inform 
Maxim M. Litvinov, Soviet Ambassador at Washington, as follows: 

In order to comply with delivery of supplies to the USSR under the Protocol, 
a U.S. Military Mission is operating in Iran to develop lines of supply from the 
head of the Persian Gulf. 

In addition a small military Mission of about 25 including 10 officers and 
headed by Major General John N. Greely is leaving shortly for Iran with the 
principal responsibility of furthering delivery of military materiel to the USSR 
along this route. General Greely's Mission will naturally operate through the 
Iranian Mission and British authorities in that area. The United States Govern- 
ment would like to be informed by the Government of the USSR as to which of 
its representatives in Iran it would be most advantageous for General Greely to 
contact, in order to best meet this responsibility. 

It would certainly be advantageous for some or all of General Greely's Mission 
to be furnished with visas for the USSR prior to departure from this country, 
in order to facilitate communication with the Embassy of the United States in 
the USSR. In case any objection exists to this procedure, it is desired that the 

* ( 1 ) Ltr, Gen Greely to Secy War, 6 Nov 41. 200 Personnel General, USSR, Intn Div, 
ASF NCF. (2) Data on personnel allotments and strength are in other papers in this file. 
See also 334.8 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF; Folder, U.S. Military Mission to USSR, 
SL X-l 1,737; and Rpt, Chief, Home Office, to Defense Aid Dir, 22 Jan 42, 320 Mis Br, 
Intn Div, ASF NCF. The strength of the mission fluctuated within narrow limits close to 
the original request. At termination there were 12 officers and 14 warrant officers, non- 
commissioned officers, and enlisted men overseas. (3) 300.6 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF, 
(4) 319.1 Rpts Home Office to Mission USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. (5) Memo, signed 
by Capt Paul F. Yount, 24 Nov 41, sub: Rpt on Cons Needs. Iran 2/8, NA.DEF. 


representative of the USSR in Iran be directed to furnish visas to the personnel 
of General Greely's Mission if and when it appears desirable. 9 

Here, along with a clear statement of the paramount responsibilities 
of the British and their auxiliary, the Iranian Mission, was a declara- 
tion of the USSR Mission's "principal responsibility of furthering 
delivery" through the Persian Corridor. Here also was an intimation, 
delicately cushioned, that the USSR Mission, which had, after all. 
been established by the War Department for the express purpose of 
operating from Soviet soil, would like visas for "some or all" of its 
members "if and when it appears desirable," preferably before the 
mission left the United States, if not, upon arrival in Tehran. 

There is no discoverable record that the War Department sent 
General Greely's information and request to the Soviet Ambassador 
at Washington; but Greely himself did shortly afterward call upon 
Mr. Litvinov and came away, as he wrote General Moore, with that 
official's "agreement ... to make contact with the Ambassador of 
the USSR at Tehran." 10 Four months later Greely recalled that 
Litvinov "agreed to notify the Ambassador of the USSR in Iran" that 
the Americans, recognizing the reluctance of the Russians to admit 
technicians capable of assembling and operating lend-lease goods at 
the northern Russian ports, had decided- to send a mission to Iran to 
carry on further negotiations from there. 11 The upshot of the conversa- 
tion between the general and the ambassador was an assurance to the 
Department of State by the War Department that the Greely mission 
would proceed to Russia, and a message sent at Greely's request to the 
United States military attache at Tehran stating that Greely would 
establish headquarters "probably" at Tehran "to facilitate delivery of 
materiel to USSR authorities at that point." 12 Here was optimism tem- 
pered by realism. The optimism would have been less had it been 
realized at the time, as it was later, that Ambassador Litvinov did not 
regard General Greely's call upon him as formal notification by the 
government of the United States to the government of the USSR of 

'Memo, Gen Greely for Gen Burns, Div of Defense Aid Rpts, 4 Dec 41. Folder, U.S. 
Military Mission to USSR, SL X-l 1,737. Other copies AG 400.3295 (8-14-41) Sec 1; 
and 336 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 

"Memo, Gen Greely for Gen Moore, DCofS, 12 Jan 42. 334.8 USSR, Intn Div, 

" Final Rpt. 

a (1) See Memo reviewing history of mission, prepared for CofS by Gen Eisenhower, 
AGofS, OPD, 25 Mar 42. 334.8 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. (2) Rad 29 to U.S. MA, 
Tehran, 7 Jan 42. MID 400.3295 1-7-42 (1-6-42). (3) Optimism as to ability of the mission 
to obtain entry into the USSR reached its height in a report prepared by Assistant Secretary 
of War McCloy for the Lend-Lease Administration, 20 February 1942, stating that the 
USSR Mission's "foreign component has only recently landed in Russia." Rpts, Defense 
Aid Papers, Drawer 1, Cabinet 67, Intn Div, ASF CCF (Current Classified Files). 


American intention to dispatch a military mission to the Soviet Union. 
Until such notice was formally served upon it, the Soviet Government 
would take no steps to provide entrance visas. Indeed it is doubtful 
if the Department of State would have regarded the call as anything 
but a personal courtesy. 18 

With the question of admittance of the mission into Soviet territory 
still open, General Greely now completed his preparations for de- 
parture. One officer and eleven enlisted men had already sailed on 
the Siboney for Basra, and Greely with six officers departed by air from 
Miami for Cairo on 19 January. Just before his departure, Greely 
presented the Deputy Chief of Staff with his immediate plan of 
operation. Because General Wheeler's mission was located at Baghdad, 
Greely would establish his headquarters at Tehran, would spread his 
personnel out over the line of delivery from the Gulf ports northward, 
and would proceed to get deliveries to the USSR under control first 
in the south, then in the north, and finally inside the USSR." 

After stopping in Cairo for conferences with Generals Maxwell 
and Adler and British officials from 27 to 31 January, Greely proceeded 
on the 31st to Basra. En route, at Habbaniya, he found the commander 
of the Royal Air Force in Iraq, Air Vice-Marshal Sir John H. d'Albiac, 
desirous that delivery of American planes assembled in the Basra area 
be effected by the United States, inasmuch as it was undesirable, from 
the British point of view, to billet a sufficient number of Soviet pilots 
in Basra to make their own deliveries, and there were not enough 
British pilots available. 15 His conferences at Cairo and Habbaniya had 
convinced Greely that "since the Iranian Mission had in hand supply 
to the USSR in that area, General Greely's mission would not interfere 
with this local activity, but would enter the USSR as promptly as 
possible and concern itself with supply and kindred activities to that 
nation as a whole." 16 

Promptly after his arrival in Tehran on 4 February, Greely called 
upon Andrei A. Smirnov, the Soviet Ambassador. On the 6th he dis- 
patched a letter to him, stating that Greely's first duty had been "to 
assist in sending military materiel from the United States to the Union 
of the Soviet Socialist Republics. I came to Iran to observe passage of 

M Memo of conversation between Andrei A. Gromyko, Counselor of the Soviet Embassy, 
Washington, and Loy W. Henderson, Asst Chief, Div of European Affairs, Dept State, 
26 Feb 42, atehd to Memo cited n. 12(1). 

" (1) Itinerary Rpt, USSR Mission. 319.1 Progress Rpts USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 
(2) Memo cited n. 10. 

" (1) Min, Stf Mtg at Cairo, 27 Jan 42. Maxwell Papers. (2) Rad Wheeler to Moore, 
4 Feb 42. AG 371 (12-17-41) Sec 2. (3) Rpt cited n. 14(1). 

M Final Rpt. 


such materiel through Iran, but responsibility for passage through this 
area remains with General Wheeler. I was advised by your Ambassador 
in the United States, Mr. Litvinov, to contact you to determine future 
action." " The letter explained that in the view of the United States 
it would be advantageous to both countries if Greely's mission could 
observe, and assist in, the use of lend-lease materials, and requested 
Smirnov to issue visas "for my Mission of eleven officers and thirteen 
non-commissioned officers." A copy of this letter was transmitted to 
General Moore with the request that he ask Litvinov to approve the 
letter in order "to make sure of quick action." 1S 

Ten days later, in a dispatch to Washington, Greely raised the 
question as to whether his mission should go to Russia after all. His 
message follows : 

On receiving your decision, urgently requested, as to whether threatening 
situation in Middle East alters desirability my Mission's proceeding to Russia, I can 
and will to my best judgment issue all orders required, advising you if emergency 
demands. Ambassador of USSR in Tehran should be instructed make all arrange- 
ments for entry, including visas, if Mission is to proceed to Russia. Otherwise, since 
it would be foolish to intrude on Wheeler who has in hand transfer of supplies to 
Russia in this region, my Mission should be used somewhere else — in my opinion, 
at nearest point where American troops are to be sent: if in Middle East, which 
I believe needs rear installations far less than divisions, my headquarters should be 
Cairo to make plans for employing troops there and for coordinating Maxwell 
and Wheeler missions; if no American troops are to be employed in Middle East, 
I recommend we move to Far East, to Australia first, presumably, to join troops 
there. Threat to entire position in Middle East within 60 days seem likely to me. 19 

Command and Conflict 

There were now three problems to be untangled : the question of 
entrance into the USSR; the definition of the purposes of the USSR 
Mission; and, the inevitable corollary of the second, the question of 
command relationships among the Americans. All three were thrown 
squarely into Washington's lap. Yet, until the Russians resolved the 
first, Washington could do nothing about the second ; while the third, 
involving General Wheeler's late February appointment to General 
Stilwell's staff in India, depended upon changes in the status of the 
Iranian Mission, recounted in the previous chapter, which culminated 

"(1) Memo, cited n. 12(1). (2) Ltr, Gen Greely to Andrei Smirnov, 6 Feb 42, 
atched to Final Rpt. A transcript in PGF 261. 

18 Rad 9 AMRUS 2, Greely to MILID Washington, 6 Feb 42. PGF 261. 

16 (1) Rad AMRUS 4 to MILID Washington (Gen Greely to Gen Moore), 16 Feb 42. 
Folder, U.S. Military Mission to USSR, SL X-l 1,737. (2) See also Memo, Maj Willet 
J. Baird, Chief, Home Office, USSR Mission, for Gen Moore, 27 Feb 42. 334.8 USSR, 
Intn Div, ASF NCF. 


in Colonel Shingler's succession to the command of that mission on 
4 April. 

Sensing that the continuing Soviet inaction in the matter of the 
visas indicated an indefinite stay for the USSR Mission in Iran, Gen- 
eral Greely on 9 March suggested to Washington that he absorb 
Wheeler's functions for Iran, leaving Iraq to Wheeler, and that Greely 
take over shipments to Russia from the south while Faymonville 
handled them from the north. 20 Numerous similar suggestions followed 
throughout March, accompanied by a steady stream of reports to 
Washington on the functioning of the Wheeler mission. 

The Iranian Mission, in addition to its responsibilities for engineer- 
ing construction works, furnished the British technical advice and 
assistance in the assembly of motor vehicles and aircraft at plants in 
the Basra area and at Bushire. There were also the unloading of ships 
and the movement of their cargoes by inland transport. General 
Wheeler found himself forced to serve the needs of both the British 
and the Russians. Into this complicated three-cornered situation 
General Greely threw himself with enthusiasm. His officers explored 
the supply routes, south, north, and east, all the way to the port of 
Pahlevi on the Caspian Sea. 21 When the Soviet Ambassador at Tehran 
complained to Greely that "more than 1,000 trucks, enough to move 
two divisions," were lying in crates scattered in the fields around Andi- 
meshk, Greely dispatched a party which reported on 29 March that it 
was true. 22 Delays in British construction at Andimeshk had held up 
the commencement of assembly operations there by General Motors 
until 26 March. General Greely also reported to Washington on port 
operations, the matter about which Ambassador Bullitt had questioned 
General Wheeler in January. He felt that the small deliveries via the 
Gulf ports, of which the Russians were complaining, were attributable 
to British commercial agents. The "necessity of dealing with the British 
in general" was cited in a later message as impeding aid to Russia. 
Greely reported that he agreed with the Soviets that "logically" they 
should take delivery direct at the ports without Anglo-American inter- 
vention. He concluded, "International politics seem to forbid this." 23 
The dissatisfaction of the Soviet Commissar of Foreign Trade over the 
"unsatisfactory condition of trucks which arrive through Bushire under 

M Rad, Gen Greely to G-2, Washington, 9 Mar 42. AG 400.3295 (8-14-41) Sec 1. 

21 File, Reconnaissance Trips, passim, SL X-l 1,737. 

"(1) Rad AMRUS 13, Greely to Washington, 21 Mar 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) 
Sec 4. (2) Rpt by Maj Addison V. Dishman, 29 Mar 42, atchd to Weekly Rpt 6 of Col 
Hauser, CofS, USSR Mission. 319.1 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 

23 (1) Rad AMRUS 9, Tehran to Washington, 12 Mar 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) 
Sec 4. (2) Rad cited n. 22(1). 


British supervision and [are] delivered to the Russians at Tehran" was 
relayed to Greely from Faymonville via the USSR Mission's home office 
in Washington. 24 A report to Washington from the USSR Mission noted 
friction between Russians and Americans at Basra over trucks, of 
which the Soviets had rejected forty out of two hundred delivered. 25 

The severity of Soviet inspections of American materials caused a 
good deal of friction which in one instance was referred to higher levels. 
On 16 February there arrived at Basra a Russian mission — headed by 
Ivan S. Karmilitsin, Chief of Engineering, Division of Peoples' Com- 
missariat of Foreign Trade — with the purpose of testing for acceptance 
seventy-seven twin-motored light Boston bombers and arranging for 
their delivery to the USSR. On 28 February General Faymonville in- 
formed Mr. Stettinius, at lend-lease headquarters, Washington, that 
"one Mr. Gillis, allegedly an American who is understood here to be 
an assistant to General Wheeler," had considered as insufficient the 
credentials of Mr. Karmilitsin. 26 As the "Mr. Gillis" was Lt. Col. 
John A. Gillies, commanding Wheeler's field headquarters at Basra, 
The Adjutant General ordered General Greely to investigate and 
report. On 10 March Greely ordered his chief of staff, Colonel Hauser, 
to proceed to Basra, adding, "Advise General Wheeler en route if 
you contact him." 2r 

The planes, designed for the British, to be rearmed by them, and 
diverted by high-level agreement to the Russians, were to be delivered 
by the Americans. The affair, complicated by misinformation and mis- 
understanding, produced in Hauser's report recommendations which 
met as far as possible every demand of the Russians and which con- 
tributed to better co-ordination of the activities of the USSR and 
Iranian Missions. By an unhappy irony, on the very date of General 
Faymonville's cable, Colonel Gillies and Mr. Karmilitsin perished to- 
gether in a Soviet plane accident. 28 

The report and attached papers show the Russians to have been 
captious and overexacting about living quarters and the supply of 
quinine assigned to them. On the other hand, they also show that the 
military and civilian members of the Soviet mission proved to be 
highly qualified and hard working, technically well informed, and 

34 Rad AMRUS 22, Col Baird to Gen Greely, 1 Apr 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41 ) Sec 4. 

,! Progress Rpt, 16 Mar 42. 319.1 USSR, Into Div, ASF NCF. 

"Rad, Faymonville to Stettinius, 28 Feb 42. 336 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 

" ( 1 ) Rad AMRUS 1 1 Washington, TAG to Amlegation Tehran, 8 Mar 42, ordering 
a report and requiring extension of "all courtesies necessary to assure friendly relations in 
the future. . . ." 333 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. (2) Greely's order of 10 Mar 42 filed with 
Col Hauser's Rpt to Chief, USSR Mission, 16 Mar 42. Folder, Hauser Investigation, SL 
X-l 1,737. 

28 Rad AMSIR 64, 7 Mar 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 1. 


fair in their demands concerning the condition and equipment of 
delivered aircraft. Assembly at Shu'aiba they had found not too effi- 
cient, nor the condition of the aircraft uniformly satisfactory. The 
Americans had combined a large degree of obligingness with some 
show of condescension, and there had been a clash of personalities. 
Colonel Hauser recommended no formal finding, owing to the death 
of the principals. His suggestions were happily accepted on the Soviet 
side and promptly applied on the Anglo-American. 

The Hauser report was perhaps the most constructive act of the 
USSR Mission ; but as a report by one American mission on the work 
of another American mission in the same area with similar responsi- 
bilities, it was evidence of confusion in the command relationship. 
Accordingly, Greely pursued the question of command. On the date, 
16 March, of the submission to him of the Hauser report, Greely cabled 

Now convinced I must keep officers at assembly plants erected or controlled 
by Wheeler. This should include Abadan plant [for aircraft assembly]. To have 
it controlled from Cairo would mean impossible complications. Senior officer in 
each area [North Africa, Iran] must co-ordinate all activities therein. Have asked 
Wheeler to come here [Tehran] on return from India with recommendations for 
future action. No criticism of him personally intended. In case he not return I 
recommend that Hauser be promoted and placed in command of all activities 
in Iran on basis that supply to USSR is most immediately important. 29 

On 2 1 March Greely asked the War Department whether Wheeler, 
who had gone to India on the 7th, was to return to Basra. If so, Greely 
would arrange with Wheeler for improving the situation; if not, Greely 
announced that he would assume command of the Iranian Mission, 
subject to War Department confirmation, leaving Colonel Hauser "in 
charge" of unspecified duties, presumably those of the USSR Mission. 
On 27 March Greely cabled Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at 
Operations Division, Washington, that he was expecting General 
Wheeler's views to be submitted immediately. On 2 April General 
Greely again proposed himself to command the Iranian Mission. 80 

This proposal was supported in the War Department by Brig. Gen. 
Henry S. Aurand, Director, International Division, SOS, with the 
concurrence of General Somervell and Brig. Gen. Robert W. Crawford, 
General Eisenhower's deputy in OPD. 31 On 2 April General Wheeler 

"Rad AMRUS 11, Greely to Washington, 16 Mar 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. 

M (I) Rad cited n. 22(1). (2) Referred to by Rad, Gen Wheeler to Gen Somervell, 
2 Apr 42. 323.61 Establishment of Military Districts, Binder 1, SL 9008. (3) Rad AMRUS 
19, 2 Apr 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. Another copy Mis Br, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 

" (1) Memo, Gen Aurand for Maj David Wainhouse, 31 Mar 42. OPD 210.684 Iran, 36. 
(2) Memo, Lt Col Thomas S. Timberman for Chief, Theater Group, 4 Apr 42, sub: 
Status of Missions. OPD 210.634, 2. (3) At a meeting in Washington on 31 March 1942 


sent General Somervell at Washington his view that Colonel Shingler 
should carry on for the Iranian Mission and that the program outlined 
to General Moore was being followed, with various concessions to the 
Russians, "even though extra expense or delay were involved. Rela- 
tions between British and Russians did not favor expeditious handling 
of supplies and frequently required American co-ordination." ™ 
Wheeler continued : 

Colonel Shingler has high executive ability, energy, tact and professional quali- 
fications. We have planned all details together since organization of the Mission 
and I have confidence in his judgment and actions during my absence and assume 
full responsibility therefor. I shall visit the area from time to time as soon as 
certain projects are under way in India. All Mission projects can be handled more 
expeditiously from India than from Russia because of port, ordnance, vehicle 
assembly and command co-ordination. 

Meanwhile the USSR Mission's home office had been reporting 
that Greely was considered the number one man in the area and that 
highly secret information in Washington was going about to the effect 
that General Greely might "assume command of the entire area which 
would include the Iranian Mission. . . . Everyone here believes that 
you are doing the best job that has been done to date in the Far East 
[sic] in co-ordinating activities in the Persian Gulf up to Tehran and 
from there further north and feels that our Mission is indispensable." 33 

The interest of the North African Mission in some of the responsi- 
bilities of the Iranian Mission added a stimulus for Greely's proposal 
of 2 April. On 1 April he received from his home office a report that 
Colonel Miles, North African Mission ordnance officer, who was also 
acting ordnance officer for the Iranian Mission, had arrived at Wash- 
ington with a "strong plea to authorities for Maxwell to control both 
Iran and Iraq areas. As British control area, nothing can be done 
without their authority. Miles stated his belief that Maxwell can better 
control situation at Cairo." M 

in which representatives of SOS and the Middle East missions conferred, Colonel Miles 
stated that OPD had prepared a directive relieving Wheeler of his Iranian Mission com- 
mand to free him to take over Indian assignments, especially the Karachi base. Colonel 
Miles added that General Somervell wished Wheeler to continue both of his assignments. 
This testimony conflicts with the concurrence, just cited, of Somervell with Aurand's approval 
of Greely to succeed Wheeler in the Iranian command. Memo, Melvin Sims for Lt Col 
Laurence K. Ladue, 31 Mar 42. Contl Div ASF, HRS DRB AGO. 
"Rad cited n. 30(2). 

33 Rpt, Home Office to USSR Mission, 22 Mar-4 Apr 42. Folder, Weekly Home Office 
Reports from U.S. Military Mission to USSR, SL X-l 1,737. Another copy 319.1 Rpts 
Home Office to Mission, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 

34 Rad cited n. 24. Colonel Baird reported that General Maxwell had lately sent to 
Washington a 'lengthy cable with respect to requirement for remedial action on delivery 
of airplanes to Russians and conditions at Basra." Rad AMRUS 27, 19 Apr 42. AG 400.3295 
(8-9-41) Sec 4. Maxwell stated to his staff on 9 March that since Wheeler commanded 
Stilwell's SOS in India, Maxwell should take over all Iraq and Iran, handling all lend-lease 


The Chief of Staff's solution of the command problem — the ap- 
pointment of Colonel Shingler to succeed General Wheeler as chief of 
the Iranian Mission — was communicated to General Greely on 7 
April. 35 But there were still two American military missions in the 
Persian Corridor, and the USSR Mission had not yet received its 
visas for the Soviet Union, If the problem of command was temporarily 
set at rest, there yet remained the questions of what the USSR Mission 
was to do and where it was to do it. 

Russia Unvisited 

General Greely's Letter of Instructions ordered his mission to pro- 
ceed to Kuybyshev. His call upon Ambassador Smirnov in February, 
his letter to that dignitary, and his appeals to Washington for help, had 
failed to advance the USSR Mission on the road to Russia. On 11 
March Greely tried another tack. He ordered his signals officer, Capt. 
Carl J. Dougovito, to proceed to Kuybyshev, having obtained for him a 
diplomatic visa as a courier for the Department of State. Captain 
Dougovito was instructed to urge the American diplomatic representa- 
tives in the USSR to apply to the Soviet Government to issue the visas 
necessary if the mission was to carry out its War Department instruc- 
tions. Captain Dougovito was supplied with a copy of General 
Greely's Letter of Instructions and was told to be guided by it in 
discussing the purposes of the mission and to proceed on the assump- 
tion that the USSR would admit the mission. 36 Dougovito remained 
in Russia from 1 3 March to 2 June. His report was submitted more 
than a month after the USSR Mission had been terminated. It indi- 
cated that it had not been possible to enlist the aid of the American 
diplomatic representatives. The U.S. Minister at Kuybyshev, Walter 
Thurston, felt, Dougovito reported, "that the objectives listed in the 
memorandum from General Greely could not be accomplished, and 
that our efforts would be ineffectual if we did enter the Soviet Union." 
In Dougovito's opinion General Faymonville was "apparently accom- 
plishing his objective." 3T 

In Dougovito's absence, General Greely continued his efforts from 
Tehran. He told Washington that Soviet Ambassador Smirnov had 

needed for the British Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Armies under General Auchinleck's command. 
Min, Stf Mtg at Cairo, 9 Mar 42. Maxwell Papers. 

M Rad 84 to Greely, 7 Apr 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. 

30 Memo, Gen Greely for Capt Dougovito, 11 Mar 42, sub: Instructions on Entering 
the USSR. Folder, Unnumbered Memorandums U.S. Military Mission to the USSR, SL 
X-l 1,737. 

8T Rpt to Home Office, USSR Mission, 12 Jun 42. 334.8 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 


been authorized to issue visas for Greely and two others and that Greely 
hoped to fly to Russia in two weeks. 38 It should be observed that in this 
entire affair Moscow never refused to grant temporary visas for indi- 
viduals or groups of individuals, members of the mission, to make short 
visits. It was permanent entry for the mission as a whole that was found 
objectionable. 39 On 2 1 March Greely again wrote Ambassador Smirnov 
to tell him that the Chief of Staff, Gen. George C. Marshall, believed 
that the Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs intended to issue visas 
to Greely "and party." The visas now issued for Greely and two others 
were sufficient, the letter continued, for the present ; but "my govern- 
ment" is under the impression that twenty-one more will be authorized. 
"It will possibly be desirable for me," General Greely wrote, "to have 
some of this personnel join me in Moscow later"; and, "It would seem 
best to clear up what seems to be a misunderstanding in order to pre- 
vent delay in the future." 40 

While awaiting a reply to this announcement of intention to proceed 
to Russia in expectation of later arrival of the rest of his mission, Gen- 
eral Greely tried to hop a ride to Moscow which was refused, and 
refused a lift which was offered. In the first instance the plane was 
one carrying the new American Ambassador to the USSR, Admiral 
Standley; but the admiral, while disclaiming any authority over the 
USSR Mission, declined to permit Greely to board his plane, insisting 
that to do so might, in the absence of a clearly expressed desire for the 
mission on the part of the Soviet Government, make the admiral appear 
to sponsor the mission. At this point, the Soviets offered General Greely 
flight in one of their planes. Greely declined, and decided not to budge 
until the War Department, which had ordered him to proceed to 
Russia, could resolve the matter with the Department of State. 41 

Greely's mild and unhurried letter to Smirnov was counterbalanced 
by an urgent appeal to the War Department to enlist the good offices 
of the Department of State in requesting Ambassador Smirnov to 
issue twenty-one additional visas. The Secretary of War promptly 
complied with a letter to the Secretary of State summarizing Greely's 
Letter of Instructions and suggesting that the Soviet Government be 
formally requested to admit within its borders eleven officers and 
fourteen enlisted men of the USSR Mission. 42 

38 (1) Rad cited n. 29. (2) Rad, Greely to Washington, 17 Mar 42. 334.8 USSR, 
Intn Div, ASF NGF. 

"Memo cited n. 19(2). 

"Ltr, Gen Greely to Smirnov, 21 Mar 42. Folder, Greely, John N., Orders and In- 
structions, SL X-l 1,737. 

" Final Rpt. 

° (1) Rad cited n. 22(1). (2) Ltr, Secy War to Secy State, 30 Mar 42. AG 400.3295 
(8-14-41) Seel. 


General Faymonville now informed the Lend-Lease Administration 
in Washington that General Greely had requested that Captain Dougo- 
vito, who was admitted into the Soviet Union as a State Department 
courier, be transmogrified into a military attache and added to Faymon- 
ville's staff. As it was necessary to request Soviet approval of this altera- 
tion in Dougovito's status, the American Embassy was requested by 
Faymonville to make suitable representations. 43 If in some quarters the 
change in Dougovito's status was looked upon as a minor infiltration 
and in others as illustrating that there are more ways than one to skin 
a cat, it provided off-stage noises while Ambassador Standley, at the 
request of Sumner Welles, considered the question of visas for the 
USSR Mission. 

Admiral Standley sent in his opinion on 18 April and it was ad- 
verse." He advised the Department of State that there was a British 
military mission in Russia, but that the Americans executed similar 
functions through their military attache and their lend-lease mission 
under General Faymonville. He noted that "the Soviet has not, with 
minor exceptions, taken any advantage of the repeated offers made by 
General Faymonville of the services of technicians and of any other 
help which might be needed," thus calling attention to Soviet reluc- 
tance to agree to that part of General Greely's Letter of Instructions 
which authorized American assistance to the Soviet Union in training 
Soviet personnel in maintenance and use of American-made materiel, 
equipment, and munitions. Other provisions of that letter seemed to 
Ambassador Standley to raise obstacles to smooth operations because 
of potentially overlapping responsibilities. The authority given to the 
chief of the USSR Mission to control all military personnel in his area 
would, the ambassador noted, enable Greely to "embody in his office 
the Military Attache or the functions of the Military Attache," func- 
tions associated with the office of the ambassador. Furthermore, the 
Letter of Instructions issued by the War Department stipulated that 
the chief of the USSR Mission would inform American diplomatic 
representatives in his area of such matters as seemed to him appro- 
priate ; and this provision, the ambassador wrote, would render Greely 
wholly independent as to informing the ambassador of mission activi- 
ties within the Soviet Union. Admiral Standley did not therefore 
discuss the matter of visas for the Greely mission with the Soviet 
Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. 

** See Rad, Gen Faymonville to Thomas B. McCabe, Actg Lend-Lease Administrator, 
6 Apr 42. Folder, Weekly Home Office Reports from U.S. Military Mission to USSR, SL 

"Rad, Admiral Standley to Dept State, 18 Apr 42, atchd to Ltr, Under Secy Welles 
to Secy War, 22 Apr 42. AG 400.3295 (8-14-41 ) Sec 1. 


General Greely's home office relayed him an account of Standley's 
views, noted that General Aurand was urging the Department of State 
to clarify the situation, and concluded that it was generally felt that 
Greely should establish himself in Tehran and operate from there. 45 
But events failed to confirm the home office's information, just as they 
had similarly contradicted its intimations as to command a few weeks 
earlier. Although the War Department was willing to give up the 
effort to put the mission into Russia and to leave it in the Corridor 
along with the Iranian Mission, the Department of State saw the 
mission as a closed book. On 1 May Cordell Hull telephoned Henry L. 
Stimson and asked him to get the Greely mission out of Tehran forth- 
with. Mr. Stimson said he would. There was nothing further to do 
except to send a letter from the Secretary of War to General Greely 
revoking the Letter of Instructions of six months previous. The letter 
of revocation, dated 2 May, stated that dissolution of the USSR Mission 
cast no reflection upon General Greely, but was caused by failure 
to obtain the necessary diplomatic clearance from the Soviet 
Government. 46 

Promptly following upon dissolution of the mission came assign- 
ment to the Iranian Mission of what was called additional responsibility 
for handling and forwarding through Iran all military materiel 
destined for the USSR. The assignment indicates that even at that 
late date there were those in Washington who did not realize that such 
duties were already implicit in the tasks of the Iranian Mission, subject 
only to its auxiliary status vis-a-vis the British. But, thanks to the de- 
cision of Secretary Hull, all three problems which had dogged the 
USSR Mission's short life were solved at one stroke of the pen. Nine 
of Greely's officers and fourteen of his men were immediately trans- 
ferred to the Iranian Mission. One officer was returned to the United 
States. Greely and Hauser stood by for further orders. 47 

It is an oversimplification to attribute the end of the mission solely 
to the reluctance of the USSR to admit its membership as a whole. 
Determination of causes requires an examination of opinion within 
the American Embassy in Russia impossible within the limits of this 

"Rpt, Home Office to USSR Mission, 5-25 Apr 42. Folder, Weekly Home Office 
Reports from U.S. Military Mission to USSR, SL X-l 1,737. Another copy 319.1 Rpts 
Home Office to Mission, USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 

'* ( 1 ) Ltr, Stimson to Welles, 1 May 42, drafted in accordance with Memo, Gen Somer- 
vell for Gen Marshall, to the effect that the WD would make no further effort to send the 
mission into the USSR. AG 400.3295 (8-14-41) Sec 1. (2) Rad AMRUS 30 to Gen 
Greely, 2 May 42, quotes Ltr of Secy War. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41 ) Sec 4. 

"(1) Rad AMSIR 157 Washington, Gen Somervell to Col Shingler, 2 May 42. 
334.8 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. Other copies OPD, Iran-Iraq, Vol. I, 20E 42 (IM-Q) ; 
AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. (2) 334.8 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 


history. 48 For whatever reasons, Greely's personal calls and letters were 
the only American requests for visas made directly to the Soviets. In- 
complete co-ordination of policy by the State and War Departments 
weighed in the final outcome. The record further shows that the fate, 
unforeseen, but nevertheless perhaps not unforeseeable, of being a 
fifth wheel on the Russian-aid cart contributed to the mission's demise ; 
and the record is clear that up to the last, the War Department main- 
tained its support for two parallel missions in the Persian Corridor. 

On the credit side of the ledger, the USSR Mission performed 
useful field surveys and satisfactorily smoothed out the difficulties which 
arose over the Shu'aiba assembly operations. Something of the frustra- 
tion which shrouded its short existence may be mitigated if the lessons 
its story teaches are studied and learned. 

4S ( 1 ) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 395-96, and unpublished material in the 
Hopkins papers. (2) General Greely has recorded that his appointment was suggested by 
General Burns of the Division of Defense Aid Reports, who had brought Colonel Faymonville 
to Washington for Russian-aid talks in July 1941 and who took Faymonville to the USSR 
where he became head of the lend-lease mission. At the time the USSR Mission was estab- 
lished it was expected that Burns would become U.S. Ambassador to the USSR. Burns 
believed that there were distinct functions to be served by the Faymonville and Greely 
missions. Faymonville, with direct access to Harry Hopkins, would channel USSR requests 
into procurement and shipment; Greely, with War Department machinery behind him, would 
instruct the Russians in the use and maintenance of American lend-lease goods. It was be- 
lieved that as ambassador, Burns could direct these complementary functions toward the 
single aim of aiding the USSR. (Ltr, Greely to Maj Gen Orlando Ward, 30 Apr 49. PGF.) 
But Burns did not become ambassador and the Russians did not want to be instructed. 
In consequence the mission became something of an orphan. 


The Iranian Mission and Its 

Jobs, Geography, and Manpower 

Although the remaining months of 1942 were to produce problems 
enough, the decisions of April and May eliminated some of the early 
confusion. The assignment of highest priority to the movement of goods 
to the USSR dictated handing over American construction activities 
in Iraq to the British, whose line of communication from Basra to 
Baghdad the projects were designed to strengthen. The removal of 
India from the territory of the Iranian Mission, the appointment of 
Colonel Shingler to succeed General Wheeler, and the dissolution of 
the USSR Mission all clarified the Iranian Mission's tasks and tended 
to simplify its machinery. Responsibility for handling and forwarding 
through Iran all military materiel destined for the USSR, assigned 
the Iranian Mission at the termination of the USSR Mission, remained 
nominal because of paramount British responsibilities for movements 
and transportation. It was exercised through the rendering of advice 
and assistance, until American assumption, by direction of the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff in September, of enlarged operational powers and 
duties. This development was not envisaged during the first half of the 
year, and consequently, until late summer, all planning for increased 
Russian aid proceeded on the basis of reinforcing the Iranian Mission 
and its successor organizations rather than on the basis, determined 
late in the year, of creating a radically new machine to do the job. 
Throughout the remainder of 1942 and on into the early months of the 
new regime established by the Combined Chiefs, the Americans' main 
concern was with construction of wharves, highways, and housing, and 
with assembly of motor vehicles, aircraft, and barges. 

In the early planning period, when it might be said the planners 
bit off more than they could chew, it had been supposed that the 
American field force could handle a large proportion of the thirty-one 


tasks to be spread over Iraq, Iran, and India, as listed by General 
Wheeler in January. Although first priority had been given early that 
month to the Iraqi projects, Wheeler had assured Colonel Faymonville 
that on the arrival of the engineer constructor "systematic improve- 
ment of 1,000 miles of Persian road net to provide permanent two-lane 
highways" would be begun. On the day before the Folspen men reached 
Basra, the British Tenth Army set up priorities for American construc- 
tion of highways, the first to run from Ahwaz north to Andimeshk, the 
second from Ahwaz south to Khorramshahr and across to Tanuma in 
the Basra port area, and the third to connect Umm Qasr with 
Shu'aiba. The small number of Americans made it expedient to con- 
centrate upon the Iraqi projects; but even while the majority worked 
in Iraq, surveys for the Iranian highway were carried out and plans 
made which awaited only the coming of additional plant, equipment, 
and personnel to be put into effect. Similar reconnaissance looking 
toward construction of docks at Khorramshahr took place during the 
Iraqi period, and a construction crew and some equipment were fur- 
nished at the same time by Folspen to speed work being done by the 
British on a motor vehicle assembly plant for American operation at 
Andimeshk. 1 

The shift of priorities to Iran freed the American working forces 
for tasks already planned but postponed by the earlier priority rating 
given to Iraq. The transfer of men and equipment from Iraq to Iran 
was completed by 1 June, by which date both the Folspen and Iranian 
District engineer headquarters had been established at Ahwaz. The 
Iranian Mission headquarters remained at Basra until January 1943 
when, as the headquarters of a succ essor o rganization under General 
Connolly, it was removed to Tehran. VSee Chart l\ Af>f)endix B. ) 

Ahwaz, which was to be the nerve center of American construction 
activity, is situated at the head of navigation about 100 miles up the 
Karun River, or 75 miles by desert track, above Khorramshahr. It is at 
the junction between the main line of the railway and a branch south 
to Khorramshahr being built in 1942 by the British. Khorramshahr, 
whose capacity in late 1941 was variously estimated at from 200 to 700 
long tons per day, stands at the confluence of the Shatt al Arab and 
Karun Rivers, well inland from the Persian Gulf and about 21 miles 
downstream from Basra. Eight miles down the Shatt al Arab from 
Khorramshahr, connected by a paved road, is the island of Abadan, 

] (1) Rad, Col Shingler (for Gen Wheeler) to Col Faymonville, 24 Jan 42. 323.91 
Ports, SL 9008. (2) Memo 258/15/29/1, Hq, Tenth Army, QMG Br, for Hq, U.S. Mil 
Iranian Mission, 13 Feb 42. Folder, Roads: Umm Qasr-Basra, SL X-11,737. (3) Ltr, 
Col Shingler to CG, SOS, 10 Apr 42, sub: Status of U.S. Mil Iranian Mission. PGF 26-A. 
(4) Notes and comments by Colonel Lieber for the author, 10 February 1949. 


provided with docks used by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company refinery 
on the island. From Abadan a road runs north to Ahwaz, The main line 
of the ISR, which reaches Ahwaz from Tehran via Andimeshk 87 miles 
to the north, continues about 70 miles to the southeast to the Persian 
Gulf port of Bandar Shahpur. This port relies wholly on the railway for 
its communication overland with Ahwaz, there being no highway. In 
1942 it had a pier extending far into the shallow water, and a British 
civilian contractor was adding additional wharfage. Farther to the 
south along the Gulf coast stands Bushire, more than 190 air-line miles 
from Khorramshahr, joined to interior points by inadequate roads. 
Cargoes at Bushire were lightered mainly in native craft from an ex- 
posed anchorage 7 miles offshore. The port's relative isolation and the 
shallowness of its waters made it the least useful for Russian-aid 
tonnage. 2 

Improvement of some of these facilities to bring them up to the 
capacities called for by increased tonnages for Russia was being effected 
by the British when the Americans came over to Iran to share the 
burden. By 1 July 1942 the broad list of proposed American tasks 
had been narrowed. Of the tasks named in General Wheeler's January 
list there remained the following: construction of additional docks at 
Khorramshahr ; first-priority highway construction from Ahwaz north 
to Andimeshk; second-priority highway from Ahwaz south to Khorr- 
amshahr, with a road across to Tanuma ; following completion of these 
roads, a 750-mile two-lane highway north from Andimeshk; operation 
of a motor vehicle assembly plant at Andimeshk; operation of vehicle 
repair stations at Andimeshk and Kazvin; and operation of an aircraft 
assembly plant at Abadan and of a point for aircraft delivery at Tehran. 
Technical advice and assistance were also to be rendered at the British- 
operated motor vehicle assembly plant at Bushire and the British 
aircraft assembly operations at Shu'aiba. Additional tasks undertaken 
by 1 July included the laying (begun in the spring) of concrete flooring 
for the motor vehicle assembly plant being built by the British for 
American operation at Andimeshk ; operation by subcontract through 
the district engineer of a barge assembly plant at Kuwait on the Gulf 
coast south of Umm Qasr ; and construction of housing for 100 men at 
Khorramshahr, wharf approaches there, and housing for 750 men 
along the highway route between Ahwaz and Andimeshk, with hospital 
and warehouse facilities at Ahwaz. 3 

'Rpt, Office of Naval Intelligence, 17 Dec 41. WPD 4596 to -15 Iran (Persia), HRS 

3 Iranian Engr Dist Project Map, 1 Jul 42. Na 2146 (Iran) 25/3, NADEF. Photostatic 
copy Map File, PGF. 


The working force entrusted with these operations had expanded 
from the handful of men in Iraq in April to 190 military and 817 
American civilians by 1 July. Of the latter, 427 were employees of 
Folspen and 390 of the Douglas Aircraft Company. The military force 
comprised 69 members of the Air Corps and 121 from other services, 
chiefly technical. There were 58 officers and 132 enlisted men all told. 
By the end of August the number of Folspen civilians had risen to 745, 
the Douglas roster to 397, while the military aggregate was 357. Native 
laborers employed on five engineer projects totaled 1,280. By the end 
of October, when the auxiliary civilian-contractor phase of American 
operations began the transition to the wholly militarized phase under 
General Connolly, the military aggregate was 413, the Folspen em- 
ployees totaled 740, and there were 6,320 natives directly hired or 
employed by subcontract on engineer projects. Contradictory data on 
motor vehicle and aircraft assembly provide an unreliable census of 
civilian employees at that date. 4 

Lack of manpower was one problem among many which beset 
civilian-contractor operations. While construction and assembly tasks 
were being carried on, the military organization passed through a 
series of changes, resulting in the merging of the Iranian Mission and 
the North African Mission into an American Middle East theater of 
operations with headquarters at Cairo. Simultaneously the militariza- 
tion of civilian contract activities was in contemplation. These two 
developments of the organizational structure marked a turning point 
midway in the first phase of the American job in the Persian Corridor. 

Unification of the Middle East Missions 

The stream of events leading to the unification of the Iranian and 
North African Missions into an American Middle East organization, 
U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East (USAFIME), flowed from a 
source which has yet to be precisely located on the historical map. The 
first suggestion, according to General Maxwell, came from British head- 
quarters in Cairo. 5 Maxwell himself advanced the idea to his staff in 
early March. It was proposed in February in Washington by General 
Wemyss of the British Joint Staff Mission ; and it will be recalled that 

' ( 1 ) Rpt of Opns, CO, Iranian Mission, to CG, USAF IME. for 1 May-30 Tun 42, 
2 Jul 42. 334.8 American Aid Subcommittee, SL 9011. (2) 1 Chart 71 (3) Monthly Rpt 
of Activities of PGSC, Aug 42, to CG, USAFIME, 3 Sep 42. FGF 259. Another copy 
titled First Monthly Progress Report, same date, differs slightly. 323.61 Establishment of 
Military Districts, Binder 2, SL 9008. (4) Monthly Rpt of Activities of PGSC, Oct 42, 
to CG, PGSC, 5 Nov 42. PGF 259. 

' Min, Stf Mtg at Cairo, 9 Apr 42. Maxwell Papers. 


General Maxwell had represented the interests of the Iranian Mission 
at a meeting of the American Aid Subcommittee of the Middle East 
War Council in Cairo in November 1941 when installations at Basra 
were under discussion. It is reasonably certain that the proposal to 
unify the American missions was originally British. 

On 5 February 1942 General Wemyss wrote to General Marshall 
suggesting that the two missions be combined. 6 The matter, he stated, 
had been considered by the British Chiefs of Staff, the Minister of 
State at Cairo, the commanders-in-chief for Middle East, and had, he 
believed, been unofficially discussed with Ambassador Bullitt when 
he was in the Middle East. General Wemyss pointed out that, "when, 
however, as is intended, the Middle East Command is extended to 
include Persia and Iraq, Wheeler will be partly in the sphere of Com- 
mander-in-Chief, Middle East, and partly in that of Commander-in- 
Chief, India." The new mission, he added, would "far exceed in scope 
the present Missions." It would canalize, through its chief, information 
both of intelligence and operational natures between the Middle East 
sphere and the United States and would provide a framework for any 
increase in participation of the U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East. 
General Wemyss suggested that the War Department add to the new 
mission an officer, to sit with the British Joint Planning Staff for the 
Middle East, and civilians for co-operation with the Minister of State 
at Cairo. 

Circulated for comment within the War Department, the British 
proposal was approved by General Aurand whose office was the one 
in closest administrative touch with the two Middle East missions. G-2 
urged that intelligence activities in the Middle East should continue to 
be channeled directly to Washington and not diverted through the 

The War Plans Division (WPD) recommended leaving everything 
unchanged, pointing out that General Maxwell's relations with British 
Army headquarters in Cairo would be unchanged by any consolidation, 
and that General Wheeler's effectiveness would be unimpaired by 
British command changes putting part of his area in the British India 
area and part of it in the British Middle East area. "The missions 

* The following five paragraphs refer to: ( 1 ) Ltr, Gen Wemyss to Gen Marshall, 5 Feb 42. 
OPD 4511-35 to -72, Africa, General (includes N. African Mission Sec. 3), HRS DRB AGO. 
Another copy MID 311.9 Co-ordination, ME (2-7-42). (2) Memo, Gen Aurand for 
WPD, 8 Feb 42, sub: Consolidation of North African and Iranian Missions, North African 
Mission File .008, Intn Div, ASF NCF. (3) Memo, Brig Gen Raymond E. Lee, ACofS, 
G-2, for ACofS, WPD. OPD File as in ( 1 ) . Another copy MID File as in ( 1 ) . (4) Memo, Gen 
Gerow, ACofS, WPD, for CofS, 12 Feb 42, sub: Proposed Consolidation of All American Ac- 
tivities in the Middle East, approved by CofS, 19 Feb 42. OPD File as in (1). (5) Ltr, Gen 
Marshall to Gen Wemyss, 19 Feb 42. OPD File as in ( 1 ) . 


assigned Generals Maxwell and Wheeler in their respective letters of 
instruction," the WPD memorandum noted, "do not place them in 
any British command channels." On the question of the Iranian Mis- 
sion's obligations toward the USSR, the WPD memorandum stated: 

Of primary importance among the specific duties assigned General Wheeler is 
the routing of lend-lease materials to the Soviet Union and the training of their 
personnel in the use and maintenance of American equipment. A complete re- 
organization of the Wheeler and Maxwell Missions might well disrupt the relations 
General Wheeler has established with the Russians. This would be undesirable. 

The passage indicates a correct realization of the importance of the 
Russian-aid program and of General Wheeler's responsibility for it. 
It is well to remember, however, that at the same time (February) top- 
priority Iranian Mission tasks were those in Iraq for aid to Great 
Britain; that General Greely's USSR Mission was currently at large 
in General Wheeler's territory with responsibilities paralleling and 
overlapping Wheeler's; that the "routing" of lend-lease materials to 
the Soviet Union was a British responsibility; and, finally, that training 
of Soviet personnel existed only on paper because of consistent Soviet 
refusal to accept it. 

The War Plans Division further objected to the British suggestion 
that an American officer sit with the British Joint Planning Staff for 
the Middle East, pointing out that "suitable provision for co-operation 
and long-term planning" already existed through the Combined Chiefs 
of Staff; that nowhere else, not even in England where there were 
numerous American troops, was such an arrangement in existence; 
and that presence of an American officer on the British Joint Planning 
Staff for the Middle East "might serve to complicate matters." 

General Marshall, on WPD's recommendation, wrote General 
Wemyss on 19 February that he appreciated "the informal presenta- 
tion of your ideas on consolidation," but did not feel that any change 
was "justified." He added, "Personally, I anticipate no disruption in 
the present smooth operations of the two Missions." And there, for the 
time being, the matter rested. The events of the following four months 
produced in themselves further points in the debatable question of 

There were straws in the wind. Early in May, following the disso- 
lution of the USSR Mission, the War Department informed Colonel 
Shingler, chief of the Iranian Mission, that General Maxwell had 
become a member of the Middle East Supply Council, an official agency 
for economic controls, and would, along with the American Minister 
at Tehran, consult Shingler on economic matters affecting Shingler's 
area. The War Department instructed Shingler to keep Maxwell in- 


formed of all agreements made with the British or transmitted to 
Shingler by the War Department, and to advise Maxwell of decisions 
involving policy with the British. The message added pointedly that 
Shingler was not under Maxwell's jurisdiction. In conformity with 
these instructions Shingler wrote Maxwell a letter in an effort to bridge 
the differences in time, space, and "circumstance between Basra and 
Cairo. He stated that since the new British command arrangements 
had oriented Iraq and Iran toward Cairo rather than toward New 
Delhi, "There has been a radical change in attitude towards all 
American-sponsored projects," and he cautioned Maxwell not to com- 
mit the Iranian Mission "too rigidly on policies until I have had an 
opportunity to discuss the local situation with you." British policy for 
Iraq and Iran was now being directed from Cairo where there was a 
close identification with Afro-Mediterranean areas and problems; 
whereas American policy in Iraq and Iran had only lately been shifted 
decisively toward support of the Soviet Union's line of supply. 7 

Colonel Shingler's point was communicated by General Maxwell 
to the British a few days later in Cairo at a meeting attended by Richard 
G. Casey, British Minister of State, and by a representative of Colonel 
Shingler. Lt. Gen. Sir Thomas S. Riddell-Webster, top Army adminis- 
trative official at GHQ, Middle East Forces, asked General Maxwell 
if he had any information as to taking over the Iranian Mission. Max- 
well replied that "he felt the War Department didn't desire" to act at 
this time "because it might appear to decrease the importance of sup- 
plies to Russia." General Maxwell could, however, arrange to represent 
Colonel Shingler "in the event quick decisions were necessary." Not 
long after, General Maxwell sent a note to General Aurand reiterating 
his own belief that the Iranian Mission ought to become a service com- 
mand of the North African Mission. There was one more straw to blow 
in the wind before the War Department decision was reached. On 10 
June the Iranian Mission was placed under the North African Mission 
for general courts-martial purposes. 8 

On 13 June, by order of General Marshall, USAFIME was created 
and Iraq and Iran placed within its geographical area. Four days later 
a message summarized the new Letter of Instructions to be issued 

' (1) Rad AMSIR 162, Washington to Shingler, 4 May 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) 
Sec 4. (2) Rad AMSIR 165, Washington to Shingler, 5 May 42. Same file. (3) Ltr, Col 
Shingler to Gen Maxwell, 8 May 42. 334.8 American Aid Subcommittee, SL 9011. 

* (1) Notes of mtg of 12 May 42 taken by Capt Garrett Fonda, Adj, Iranian Mission. 
334.8 American Aid Subcommittee, SL 9011. (2) Msg, Maxwell to Aurand, 25 May 42, 
carried by Col Louis J. Claterbos, North African Dist Engr, who was returning to the United 
States. DE File (A) Drawer 1, Cabinet 8, NADEF. (3) Ltr, JA, U.S. Mil North African 
Mission, to Chief, U.S. Mil Iranian Mission, 10 Jun 42, following authorization from 
Washington dated 27 May 42. 323.61 Establishment of Military Districts, Binder 1, SL 9008. 


to General Maxwell as commanding general. His command was to 
include all U.S. Army personnel in his area except the Army Air 
Forces Ferrying Command and General Greely's special mission in 
Iran, a new assignment following collapse of the mission to Russia. 
On the same day, 17 June, Maxwell accepted the appointment. On 19 
June he issued his first general order activating the new theater. On 
23 June the Iranian Mission was discontinued, being redesignated the 
Iran-Iraq Service Command under Headquarters, USAFIME, effec- 
tive 24 June, with Colonel Shingler as commanding officer. 9 

The new Letter of Instructions given by the Chief of Staff to Gen- 
eral Maxwell, in so far as it affected Iranian Mission matters, gave to 
the Commanding General, USAFIME, control not only of military 
personnel, but of all Services of Supply activities, including construc- 
tion, transport, and maintenance. General Maxwell received control 
of all War Department intelligence activities in his area, subject to 
certain local arrangements which did not concern the activities in the 
Persian Corridor. He was also to represent the War Department in all 
dealings with the British and other friendly forces in his area. 10 

Colonel Shingler's headquarters at Basra were a thousand miles, 
as the crow flies, from General Maxwell's headquarters at Cairo. The 
new command relationship seemed to alter the autonomy formerly 
enjoyed by the Iranian Mission in its dealings with Washington and 
with the British. General Maxwell's control over construction and all 
military personnel, moreover, appeared to affect the working arrange- 
ment by which the co-ordinate powers granted the Iranian District 
engineer and the chief of the mission had been made to function. 
Colonel Shingler accordingly asked Washington on 24- June for clarifi- 
cation of his responsibilities in supplying the USSR, and in his con- 
struction and assembly activities. "It is desirable," he stated, "that I 
make clear my status to Russian and British officials concerned with 
activities of the Mission. I am eager to have my direct responsibilities 
clarified ; also the channel of command regarding supplies to construc- 

'(1) Rad, Gen Marshall to Gen Maxwell, 13 Jun 42. AG 320.2 (13 Jun 42) 15, 
Hq AMET (AG decimal files seen at Headquarters, Africa-Middle East Theater, Cairo, 
now filed at the Kansas City Records Center, Kansas City, Mo.). (2) Rad, Gen Marshall 
to Gen Maxwell, 17 Jun 42. AG 381 (2-24-42) 2, Hq AMET. (3) Rad AMSEG 1494, 
Gen Maxwell to Gen Marshall, 17 Jun 42. AG 320.2 (13 Jun 42) 15, Hq AMET. In this 
message Maxwell recommended appointment of Colonel flauser, former chief of staff of 
the USSR Mission, as commanding officer of the new Iran-Iraq Service Command, and 
attachment of Colonel Shingler to Cairo headquarters for staff duty. (4) GO 1, Hq, 
USAFIME, 19 Jun 42. (5) GO 3, Hq, USAFIME, 23 Jun 42. (6) SO 4, Hq, USAFIME, 
appointing Shingler CO, Iran-Iraq Serv Comd. By GO 1, Hq, Iran-Iraq Serv Comd, 
USAFIME, 1 Jul 42, the comd was activated effective 24 Jun 42. (7 )IChartl.| 

"Ltr of Instructions, Gen Marshall to Gen Maxwell, 20 Jun 42. AG 32U.2 (13 Jun 42) 
15, Hq AMET. 


tion, truck and plane assembly projects." In reply the War Department 
instructed Shingler to continue to deal directly with Washington on 
all matters previously handled by the Iranian Mission, "including sup- 
plies to Russia, construction projects, and truck and plane assembly," 
furnishing General Maxwell with copies of all actions taken, and con- 
sulting him in all matters of operational policy. The reply suggests that 
Washington had solved the problem of keeping the British happy by 
unifying the two missions and of keeping the Russians happy by not 
unifying them. In a letter to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of 
War explained that USAFIME was created "for the purpose of estab- 
lishing a headquarters to control and co-ordinate U.S. Army activities 
in that area, and to centralize dealings with the British Middle East 
Forces." That meant that, although Cairo was in the saddle, the reins 
were lightly held. There was to be close oversight by the new theater 
headquarters of its easternmost service command, but working contacts 
and habits established by the Iranian Mission were not to be seriously 
disturbed. 11 

The Iran-Iraq Service Command of USAFIME was set up with 
headquarters at Basra, and co-ordinate headquarters for the Iranian 
District engineer at Ahwaz and for the Air Section at Abadan. At the 
service command headquarters, in addition to the usual staff sections, 
there were a Defense Aid director through whom lend-lease matters 
with the British and Russians were channeled ; a financial adviser taken 
over from the district engineer; a surgeon; an engineer officer; and 
sections for ordnance, signals, and Army postal service. In the field 
were outlying detachments posted at Tabriz, farthest point of motor 
vehicle deliveries to the Soviets, Tehran, Baghdad, Andimeshk, 
Bushire, and Bandar Shahpur. On the staff of the Iranian District 
engineer, besides an adjutant and an executive, were chiefs of sections 
for engineering, operations, administration, contract and legal matters, 
and area engineers with subheadquarters located at Khorramshahr, 
Sabz-i-Ab 12 — just south of Andimeshk, where there was a construction 
camp — Ahwaz, and Kuwait, site of the barge construction project. 
Folspen's staff, under their foreign manager, Charles H. Sells, com- 
prised, in part, a chief engineer, a highway engineer, a superintendent 
of equipment, office manager, chief accountant, camp and commissary 
steward, purchasing agent, warehouse controller, and recreational 
director. The Air Section, under Maj. Charles P. Porter, had a small 

" (1) Rad AMSIR 389, Shingler to WD, 24 Jun 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. 
(2) Rad AMSIR 310, Gen Marshall to Col Shingler, 26 Jun 42. AG 381 (2-24-42) 2, 
Hq AMET. (3) Ltr, Secy War to Secy State, 2 Jul 42. WD 320.2 (6-25-42) MS. 

11 Zabzab to the Americans. 


headquarters staff and outlying detachments at Tehran and Shu'aiba 
as well as the offices of the Douglas Aircraft Company under Norman 
H. Millstead. 13 

In a July statement to his staff on their mission Shingler said, "The 
highest priority will be given to measures contributing directly and 
immediately to aid-to-Russia." " While including much of the sub- 
stance of General Wheeler's Letter of Instructions respecting training 
Russian and British personnel in the use of American equipment and 
supplies and studying and reporting on operational methods "to facili- 
tate the use of American equipment in future American operations," 
Shingler's statement reiterated the original purposes of the Iranian 
Mission in expediting the flow of war materials to the USSR, advising 
and assisting Allied forces in procurement, delivery, and proper utiliza- 
tion of American equipment, and maintaining close liaison with, and 
rendering technical assistance to, Allied forces in connection with lend- 
lease materials. The memorandum also provided for harmonizing 
plans for emergency military operations in the area with those made by 
the Commanding General, USAFIME, and local Allied commanders. 

It was not long before the reins, held in Cairo, were tightened. On 
11 August the Iran-Iraq Service Command was redesignated the 
Persian Gulf Service Command (PGSC), remaining directly under 
Headquarters, USAFIME. Colonel Shingler became its commanding 
officer on 13 August, and on 25 August received a Letter of Instructions 
from General Maxwell. 15 The area of the new PGSC was defined as 
comprising Iraq, Iran, and those parts of Saudi Arabia bordering on 
the Persian Gulf. Colonel Shingler was made responsible for the con- 
struction, maintenance, supply, and administration of all installations 
in his area including the Air Forces project at Abadan, but excluding 
all other Air Forces stations. Service to U.S. Army Air Forces units 
within the PGSC was to be such as would be directed by Headquarters, 
USAFIME. The PGSC would be responsible for the movement of 
U.S. military supplies within its area, and for aid as before to British 
and other Allied forces. The Commanding Officer, PGSC, was author- 
ized to hire and contract locally but to make his requests for military 
personnel to Cairo. Direct communication with the War Department 

'* (1) Organization Chart, Iran-Iraq Serv Comd. 131 U.S. Military Mission to Iran — 
Miscellaneous. SL X-11,737. (2) Organization Lists. SWP Office. 

" Stf Memo 2, Hq, Iran-Iraq Serv Comd, USAFIME, 22 Jul 42, sub: Mission of the 
Iran-Iraq Serv Comd. PGF 236. 

" (1) GO 9, Hq, USAFIME, 11 Aug 42, under authority in WD Rad AMSME 308, 
8 Aug. 42. (2) GO 1, Hq, PGSC, USAFIME, 13 Aug 42. (3) Ltr of Instructions, Gen 
Maxwell to PGSC, USAFIME, 25 Aug 42. 323.61 Establishment of Military Districts, 
SL 9008. Another copy PGF 259. 


was to be restricted to "matters specified in Army Regulations for 
direct communication, on project matters covering administrative de- 
tails of projects established by War Department, and routine details. 
All matters involving policy, operational details, personnel, matters 
involving the Command as a whole, and details of service to U.S. 
troops," the letter concluded, "will be communicated through" Cairo 
headquarters. Colonel Shingler was further instructed to submit to 
Cairo a monthly progress report. Except for the reference to mainte- 
nance of previous responsibilities for aid to Allied forces, the letter was 
silent as to direct consultation with local Allied commanders, leaving 
the impression that where these involved policy, operational details, 
and matters involving the command as a whole, consultation with local 
commanders would take place through Cairo, one thousand miles 
away. Unification of the American forces in the Middle East was now 
a fact. But it was a fact of short duration; for only two months later the 
pendulum began its swing back toward autonomy for the Persian Gulf 

During the intervening period Colonel Shingler established within 
the PGSC a system of decentralized area administration which was to 
leave its mark upon th e structural organiza tion of the new regime of 
the following October. \See Map '6, p. ZdT§ This was a scheme of ad- 
ministrative areas, analogous to, but not patterned upon, the area 
system long used by the Corps of Engineers, and already in effect under 
the Iranian District engineer. The new areas, effective 1 September, 
were the Southwestern, with headquarters at Basra, the Central, at 
Ahwaz, and the Northern at Tehran. A fourth, the Eastern, at Zahidan, 
was never activated. The commanders of the respective areas were 
made directly responsible to the Commanding Officer, PGSC, for con- 
struction, maintenance, supply, and administration of all Army installa- 
tions in their areas, as well as of civilian agencies operating directly 
under contract with the War Department; for the movement of all 
U.S. military supplies therein; and for all personnel connected there- 
with excepting those on the Air Forces project at Abadan, which 
remained directly under Headquarters, PGSC, and other Air Forces 
units. 16 

The areas were established to vest local responsibility for procure- 
ment and other strictly local dealings with the British forces in an 
American opposite number hitherto lacking. Previous to 1 September 
the heads of the various American operating agencies would go with 
their conflicting and overlapping requests to the local British repre- 

"GO 2, Hq, PGSC, USAFIME, 30 Aug 42. PGF 259. Another copy DE File E-I.I 
General Orders Mission, NADEF. 


sentatives, who, in turn, would refer these requisitions to the Com- 
manding Officer, PGSG, for correlation. Under the new area system the 
area commander would be the funnel through which these matters 
would flow. 17 

To supervise and co-ordinate the work of the area commanders, a 
special staff of eighteen officers was created to act for and in the name 
of the Commanding Officer, PGSC. The Iranian District engineer thus 
became a special staff officer who both supervised his construction 
activities throughout the several areas and carried on normal engineer- 
ing work, such as maintenance and repair of buildings, utilities, engi- 
neer supply, mining, demolition, mapping, traffic control, and camou- 
flage. Similar technical supervision was necessary, as a further example, 
on the part of the ordnance officer, who, as representative of the Com- 
manding Officer, PGSC, co-ordinated as between the areas the work 
of unloading, assembling, and forwarding motor vehicles. The special 
staff were without authority as individuals when engaged in area ac- 
tivities, but possessed the full authority of the commanding officer 
when acting as his representative on technical matters appropriate to 
the staff position and when putting into effect the policies and instruc- 
tions of the commanding officer. Special staff officers acted through 
the commanders of other units or their staff representatives except in 
emergency. Area commanders were fully advised of all technical in- 
structions applicable to their commands. The area headquarters were 
small, numbering only two or three officers. With the bulk of operational 
work focused in the eighteen special staff officers at headquarters, a 
military staff of three divided the duties of S-l, S-2, S-3, and S-4. 
This arrangement continued until the arrival of General Connolly on 
20 October. 18 

Militarization of Contract Activities 

Militarizing contract activities was a good deal like rebuilding a 
complicated structure, such as a railroad station, without interrupting 
service. Boarded-up areas appeared and disappeared, commuters de- 
toured through unfamiliar burrows, there was a thunder of riveting 
and hammering and shouting. When the dust cleared away, the old 
station was gone and a new one had been conjured out of the clang 
and confusion. Through it all the trains kept on running. In the Persian 
Corridor the transformation required more than a year. 

" Interv, Gen Shingler with Victor Pentlarge, Pentagon, 22 Apr 46. 

18 (1) Stf Memo 3, Hq, PGSC, USAFIME, 31 Aug 42. (2) SO 13, Hq, PGSG, 
USAFIME, 1 Sep 42. 


Of the four civilian contractors connected with Persian Corridor 
projects, only the J. G. White Corporation raised the question of the 
status of civilian employees overseas and urged from the start of con- 
versations with the Army that the work ought to be militarized. The 
Ordnance Department, lacking manpower to operate overseas commit- 
ments on the scale called for by its program, preferred at first to get 
on with the job by means of civilian help, but ultimately accepted the 
argument that its special problems could not be solved by the contractor 
system and canceled the White program. Construction and assembly 
offered fewer immediate obstacles to civilian operation than did the 
ordnance program, and so the Army, sore pressed for manpower, 
launched three contractors into the field to carry on until the Army 
itself could take over. This logical sequence is what happened; not 
what was clearly foreseen in late 1941 as likely to happen. Indeed, the 
engineer, quartermaster, ordnance, and Air Corps contractors received 
no hint that their undertakings were to be of a stopgap nature, nor 
is there any evidence that the contracts were so regarded by the Army 
when they were signed. 

Some of the impetus for militarization may be attributed to British 
initiative just as was the case in the unification of the Middle East 
missions. In the period between Pearl Harbor and Christmas, William 
Bullitt, the President's ambassador-at-large, was in Cairo where he 
talked with "the highest British authority," who requested prompt dis- 
patch to the Middle East of 14,000 American service troops and 500 
officers to perform definite tasks allotted by the British but to be under 
General Maxwell's mission and commanded by their own officers. With 
flattering confidence in American ability to take Pearl Harbor in stride, 
the British impressed upon Mr. Bullitt the strategic importance of the 
Middle East, and provided him with detailed information as to British 
needs in holding the fort against the Axis. Hitherto British needs had 
been expressed in terms of materiel to be furnished through lend-lease 
by a nonbelligerent America. Pearl Harbor permitted extension of the 
list into the field manpower. It was indicated to Bullitt at GHO that 
what the British had in mind was something like an advance com- 
ponent for a base ordnance workshop, signals units, construction sec- 
tions, railway maintenance sections, transport companies, railway 
telegraph operators, electrical and mechanical companies, engineer 
base workshop personnel, not to overlook such combat troops as anti- 
aircraft and coast defense units. This was not an official proposal, and 
the record of it states that Bullitt made no commitments. When the 
War Department had thought it over for a few days, General Maxwell 
was notified on 3 January 1942 that no U.S. service troops would be 


sent to the Middle East "under present conditions." For Maxwell's sole 
information it was also stated that no U.S. combat troops would be 
sent either. 19 

The talk of military manpower, however, shows how promptly 
British thinking adjusted itself to the possibilities created by American 
belligerency. In October the Supply Committee of the cabinet had in- 
formed the British Supply Council and the Joint Staff Mission in Wash- 
ington, "We should prefer that any of the projects undertaken [by the 
Americans] are established and operated by contracts executed and 
administered by United States War and Navy Departments with 
American Companies. It will, however, be essential that heads of 
American Missions should have full authority over all contractors. In 
the absence of any such control it would be quite impracticable for 
Commander-in-Chief to exercise any authority over development of 
these projects." In October the British cabinet had been thinking of the 
small military missions that were to supervise the civilian contractor 
forces as closely associated with GHQ, Middle East Forces. The same 
message to Washington said, "We note with satisfaction that the United 
States propose to send Generals Maxwell and Wheeler to Middle East 
and Iraq to initiate agreed action without delay. We suggest that Gen- 
eral Maxwell should report to and work direct with General Head- 
quarters Middle East." The conversations of December opened the 
prospect of expanding American military forces concurrently with 
sending out contractor companies. There was certainly no talk of drop- 
ping the contractors, whatever implications lurked in talk of military 

The President, appraised of Bullitt's conversations, wrote General 
Marshall, "Will you let me know what your plans are for reinforcing 
General Maxwell's Mission in Egypt and General Wheeler's at Basra." 
Next day General Marshall replied that General Maxwell in a series 
of radios had requested 1,000 officers and 24,000 enlisted men for sup- 
ply services in North Africa. "General Wheeler has not requested any 
services of supply from the armed forces of the United States." This 
indicates that there was greater British interest in American troops at 

"(1) Rad, Col Bonner F. Fellers, U.S. MA, Cairo, to TAG, 21 Dec 41. CofS 
21276-21350. HRS DRB AGO. (2) Msgs, GHQ, MEF, Cairo, to War Office, London, 
23 Dec 41 and 8 Jan 42, App. 7, American Aid in the ME, 1941 and 1942, MEF. (3) Rad 
316, by direction Secy War to Gen Maxwell, 3 Jan 42. CofS File as in (1). 

!0 (1) Msg LONUS 40, Supply Committee to Supply Council, 7 Oct 41, App. 2, American 
Aid in the ME, 1941 and 1942. MEF. Another copy AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 1. 
(2) The association was intended to be close, but not organic. Lt. Gen. Sir Balfour Hutch- 
inson, who was the supply chief at GHQ in late 1941, has written: "As regards the H. Q. 
we planned to have them [the Americans] as close as possible but at no time did we ever 
propose to amalgamate them into one and absorb the American Mission into our H. Q." 
Quoted in Ltr, Brig W. P. Pessell, Hist Sec, Cabinet Office, London, to author, 21 Jun 48. 


Cairo than at Baghdad. General Marshall's letter continued, "These 
requests have been discussed with General Wemyss of the British [Joint 
Staff] Mission who has stated that he has heard nothing from the Lon- 
don office about it. Furthermore, lack of shipping which is needed for 
more important purposes prevents the dispatch of such a force. The 
armed forces," concluded the Chief of Staff, "do not have the skilled 
supervisory personnel needed for certain work being undertaken under 
contract. The most expeditious means of accomplishing the work de- 
sired by the British in both the North African and Iranian areas is by 
using personnel under contract." 21 

Although the Chief of Staff's opinion disposed of the question of 
immediate plans to assign additional service troops to the Middle East, 
the Under Secretary of War, Robert P. Patterson, on 21 January pre- 
pared a memorandum summarizing his objections to indefinite con- 
tinuation of the civilian-contractor system. Citing the unfavorable ex- 
perience of the War Department with civilian contractors in France 
in 1917-18, and referring to the organization in January 1942 by the 
Navy of a regiment (the Seabees) to build overseas bases in combat 
zones, Mr. Patterson's memorandum stated : 

These civilians will be in the probable theater of military operations, but 
will not be under military control. As a result the contractors may abandon the 
work, or the employees may leave when they see fit. There is no assurance that 
the contemplated work will be done. The contractors and their employees will 
receive exorbitant compensation in comparison with soldiers with similar re- 
sponsibilities. 22 

By February the determination of the War Department to militarize 
contract activities throughout the world was given force in a directive 
which provided that by 18 August 1942 all War Department contract 
activities would be terminated. These, and others approved but not yet 
initiated, were to be carried out thereafter by military organizations to 
be activated in the United States and sent overseas. Military personnel 
were also to be recruited from those employed on overseas contracts 
which would be terminated." 

11 (1) Ltr, President to CofS, 16 Jan 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec I. (2) Memo, 
CofS for President, 17 Jan 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 1. An earlier draft in the file 
bears, in Marshall's hand, the words: "General Wheeler, incidentally, has not requested 
the large forces desired by General Maxwell." 

a ( 1 ) Memo, Under Secy War for Secy War, 21 Jan 42. AG 160 (2-15-42) MSC-D-M. 
(2) Another memorandum covered much the same ground, adding reference to difficulties in 
the case of the death, wounding, or capture of civilian employees in combat areas, and 
recommended militarization where practicable with termination of contracts whenever military 
units would be ready to take over. G-3 for CofS, 29 Jan 42. AG 160.0, Hq AMET. 

M ( 1 ) Rad 568 AMSEG 224, WD to Gen Maxwell, 10 Feb 42, announced that there would 
be certain necessary exceptions. AG 160.0, Hq AMET. (2) AG Ltr, 18 Feb 42, sub: 
Closing out of Overseas Contracts and Militarization of Contract Activities. AG 160 
(2-15-42) MSC-D-M. There is a draft of 11 Feb. AG 160.0, Hq AMET. Memo, Gen 


The basic principle having been adopted and a date fixed by which 
it was to be applied, it remained to figure out ways and means — a pro- 
cedure, as events developed, which put the cart before the horse. The 
North Atlantic Division engineer wrote to the Chief of Engineers to 
propose that some engineer units should be sent overseas which could 
be trained on arrival by the civilians already on the job. Then, he 
suggested, the civilians could be inducted into the units, and those 
not liable under the draft law could be returned home. A great many 
plans were made, and estimates of required troop strength sprang up 
in all directions. The Corps of Engineers calculated that 15,852 men 
would be required for the two Middle East missions, to be organized in 
March and April and depart in May. The Ordnance Department esti- 
mated five regiments for the two missions, including provision for mo- 
bile ordnance establishments requested by the British to operate in the 
rear of British division shops and in advance of U.S. Army fixed shops 
and depots, a request caused by the tremendous amount of battle 
damage to American ordnance materiel in recent operations and great 
scarcity of British maintenance troops, previously reported by General 
Maxwell. At a meeting in Washington on 3 1 March General Aurand 
summed up the status of estimates then available to him. A maximum 
limit of 40,000 troops for purposes of militarization had been set, he 
said, by WPD, as against total estimates of 48,000 submitted by the 
various services. The estimates had forthwith been scaled down to 
41,000 "and may eventually be reduced still further." General Aurand 
added that changing events would probably require the revamping of 
the approach toward the militarization of bases. 21 

In another part of the Services of Supply, the Plans and Operations 
Division, a considerably reduced set of figures was hatched. As of 
1 April requirements for the missions were presented by this office in 
the form of two objectives, the first of 5,000 troops to be shipped by 
September, the second of 19,478 troops to be shipped by December. 
The memorandum estimated that 23,600 troops were required for 

Somervell, ACofS, G-4, through Secy, Gen Staff, for TAG, transmitted the direction of 
Secy War that the directive be dispatched. AG 160 (2-15-42) MSC-D-M. Attached to 
the directive are comments of General Staff divisions pointing out contradictions, incon- 
sistencies, and difficulties in effectuating the directive ; but there were no exceptions affecting 
Middle East projects. 

M (l) Ltr, Col John N. Hodges to CofEngrs, 24 Feb 42. AG 004.001, Hq AMET. 
(2) Ltr, Actg Chief, Troops Div, Corps of Engineers, to TAG, 7 Mar 42. AG 320.2 
(1-27-42) 7. This estimate differs from that in Memo, Opns and Training Br, Troops 
Div, OCofEngrs, 3 Mar 42, sub: Commissioned Pers for Cons Units. 381 (Middle East) 
O&T Sec Files, Folio 1, Serials 1-175, OCofEngrs. (3) Memo, for TAG, 5 Mar 42. 
AG 320.2 (1-27-42) 7. (4) Rad AMSEG 87, Gen Maxwell to Maj Theodore S. Riggs, 
16 Dec 41. Same file. (5) Memo, Melvin Sims for Col Ladue, 31 Mar 42. Contl Div ASF, 


complete militarization of contract activities in North Africa and Iran. 
This figure greatly exceeded the total number of civilians ever gathered 
at one time in the field because it included estimates for additional 
projects of the sort mentioned by the British to Ambassador Bullitt. 25 

At Baghdad Colonel Shingler immediately took up with the British 
Tenth Army headquarters the disposition of the proposed American 
troops. The British account of the meeting records that the discussion 
was held in view of plans to militarize American projects effective 
1 August, by which date there would be 23,400 American soldiers em- 
ployed on American projects. Colonel Shingler arranged with the 
Tenth Army for housing, supplies and rations, ordnance, communica- 
tions, medical services, vehicle repair and maintenance, petroleum 
products, postal service, water supply, security, command, and liaison. 
The Tenth Army commander decided that headquarters of "the U.S. 
Military Mission with Tenth Army shall be located at Basra." The 
arrangements envisaged a very close administrative connection be- 
tween American and British forces, with British control over every- 
thing, including "co-ordinating the system of administration, discipline 
and command in the particular places where American troops are 
stationed." 26 

As the summer advanced and the arrival of ordnance heavy main- 
tenance and quartermaster light maintenance companies and a base 
ordnance battalion grew imminent, a British plan to locate these 
American units at Shu'aiba and Rafadiyah was abandoned in favor of 
a suggestion by Colonel Shingler that, since the American effort was 
concentrated in the Persian line of communications, the grouping of 
U.S. Army units close to one another in that area would be preferable 
to spreading them out in Iraq and Iran. Tenth Army not only accepted 
the American suggestion but made available workshops and installa- 
tions prepared for it at Andimeshk. It was agreed between Head- 

21 Memo, Brig Gen LeRoy Lutes, Dir, Plans and Opns Div, SOS, for ACofS, G-4, 9 Jul 42. 
AG 160 (2-15-42) MSC-D-M. 

M ( 1 ) "Precis of a discussion which took place at Headquarters, Tenth Army, on Monday 
6th April 1942 between the Army Commander, Col Shingler, U.S. Army, and D.A. and 
Q.M.G., Tenth Army, as amplified by telephone conversation, L.G.A., G.H.Q. M.E.F. 
speaking to D.A. and Q.M.G., Tenth Army." 206/32/2/Q1. Copy transcribed for the 
author by courtesy of the Historical Section, Cabinet Office, London. (2) Just before he 
was relieved as Commanding General, USAFIME, to become Commanding General, SOS, 
USAFIME, General Maxwell concluded similar arrangements for placing American detach- 
ments for the time being under the control of British commanders. Because of constitutional 
difficulties, no "formal ordinance" was entered into, disposition of units by "unilateral 
decision" of Maxwell and his "very ready co-operation" being relied upon as an informal 
working basis. The British did not, therefore, diminish their own units in compensation for 
those looked for from the Americans. General Connolly did not continue these arrangements 
after his arrival in the Corridor. Msg, War Office, London, to ME and Persia— Iraq, 
25 Oct 42, and reply, Mideast to Troopers, PAIC, 4 Nov 42, transcribed for author by Hist 
Sec, Cabinet Office, London. 


quarters, Tenth Army, and Colonel Shingler that Tenth Army would 
be the co-ordinating authority for the allocation of work, priorities, and 
production in maintenance and repair work; but that "the technical 
operation" of the quartermaster light maintenance company at Andi- 
meshk after it should take over the wrecking and road service on the 
motor convoy route north of Andimeshk, as well as supervision of the 
lubrication and checking service at Tabriz, should remain under 
American control." 

It should be realized that until adoption of the Combined Chiefs' 
new plan in September, all plans and estimates for troops and troop 
assignments were on a basis of militarizing current civilian contract 
operations and of adding supplementary activities as required. Mean- 
while, as small units of signal, ordnance, and engineer personnel went 
overseas under the normal plans made for the Iranian Mission and its 
successors, it had become apparent in Washington by July that militari- 
zation could not be effected by the date fixed. On 9 July Brig. Gen. 
LeRoy Lutes of SOS presented a memorandum to G-4 stating that 
"the militarization contemplated . . . has not been carried out, nor 
is it likely that it can ever be completely accomplished unless Opera- 
tions Division, War Department General Staff, authorizes the necessary 
troops, equipment, and shipping to accomplish the projects." He 
noted that the engineer units authorized in March for militarization 
had been diverted to Bolero, the operation for build-up in England 
of men and equipment for the invasion of Europe, "because no trans- 
portation was in prospect for shipment to missions." He recommended 
rescinding the directive of 18 February and adoption of more realistic 
measures. 28 

Accordingly, The Adjutant General by order of the Secretary of 
War issued on 1 7 July a letter rescinding so much of the directive of 
18 February as required completion of militarization by 18 August, 
and amending that directive "to require the closing out of overseas con- 
tracts and their militarization as rapidly as can be accomplished within 
the limitations of the availability of troops, equipment, and trans- 
portation." 29 

In consequence of this decision the relatively small numbers of 
civilian employees overseas whose projects were to have been taken 
over and expanded by thousands of troops continued at their jobs, some 
of them well into 1943. The three contractors in the Persian Corridor 

"Ltr, Hq, Tenth Army, to Hq, Iran-Iraq Serv Comd, 13 Aug 42; and Ltr, Col 
Shingler to QMG, Tenth Army, 24 Aug 42. PGF 259. 
" Memo cited n. 25. 
* Ltr, TAG, 17 Jul 42. AG 160 (2-15-42) 1. 


were dispensed with in varying fashion. In general the transition was 
effected by a compromise with plans previously advanced. Contracts 
were closed out in whole or in part, while certain contract employees 
were placed as civilians on the War Department payroll, serving either 
directly under Army control or nominally so, with instructions coming 
to them from the Army through their own civilian foremen and super- 
visors. Very few of the civilian-contractor employees enlisted or ac- 
cepted Army commissions. Many of them, particularly in the aircraft 
assembly operations, were of service in breaking in the inexperienced 
troops sent over to replace them. 

The year 1942 began with a handful of men, soldiers, and civilians, 
set down in a far country to undertake heavy labors amidst the changing 
circumstances and pressing urgencies of war. The confusions endured 
and surmounted during that harassed year made more certain the 
achievements that came in 1943. 


Wharves, Roads, and Barges 

When the War Department in February 1942 decided to militarize 
the civilian contractor projects in the Persian Corridor and in April 
shifted priorities from the British line of communications in Iraq to 
the Soviet supply line in Iran, it was preparing to assume a larger share 
of the British Russian-aid burden in the Corridor in two of its three 
categories— construction and assembly. The third category, transport, 
including both port operation and inland clearance by road and rail, 
remained in British hands until 1943. 

In construction the British increased the wharf facilities at Bandar 
Shahpur and extended the ISR south from Ahwaz to Khorramshahr, 
linking that port by July 1 942 to the main line of the railway. To the 
Americans fell the construction of additional wharfage at Khorr- 
amshahr, a permanent all-weather two-lane highway with a parallel 
temporary road north to Andimeshk, and necessary housing, storage, 
and shop installations. Completion of the Anglo-American tasks would 
forge a chain of facilities each of whose three links, ports, highways, 
and railway, was essential to the smooth delivery of an increasing flow 
of supplies to the Soviet Union. Construction was the critical operation 
of 1942, for not only must facilities attempt to keep pace with incoming 
shipping throughout the year but they must also be sufficiently ad- 
vanced to be usable by December, the time planned for the arrival of 
the U.S. Army service troops. In addition, the assembly of motor 
vehicles and aircraft, the second main task assumed by the Americans, 
depended upon adequate port facilities for the landing of cased vehicles 
and aircraft, as well as upon adequate highway and rail capacity for 
delivery overland to Soviet receiving points. 

Making Bricks Without Straw 

Because of his primary responsibility for construction, the Iranian 
District engineer was a key factor in the American task. He and his 
constructor, Folspen, were to share many headaches, chief among them 


shortages in personnel, supplies, and equipment. An estimate prepared 
in Washington shortly before Pearl Harbor had prophesied that within 
a few months perhaps four or five thousand American civilians would 
go to Iran. While the entrance of the United States into the war greatly 
enlarged its potential responsibilities, resultant shipping stringencies 
reduced the manpower, supplies, and equipment that could be de- 
livered to the field. Writing to General Wheeler in January from his 
New York headquarters, the district engineer, Colonel Lieber, esti- 
mated that given a force of 1,300 American civilians he could complete 
the engineer tasks in four hundred days. 1 The ultimate failure to com- 
plete the task was in large part attributable to shortages. It was a case 
of making bricks without straw. 

American methods of road building require a high degree of 
mechanized equipment such as tractors, bulldozers, mechanical shovels 
and graders, large capacity dump trucks, rock gravel plants, concrete 
mixers, and asphalt distributors. Without skilled operators this equip- 
ment is useless. The program assumed, therefore, provision of regular 
and adequate shipping to deliver the men, materials, and equipment. 
The War Department had promised a ship every two weeks for the 
Iranian projects and it was anticipated in the preliminary planning 
that all men and materials would reach the base before 1 May 1942. 
But for many crucial months after Pearl Harbor, while the Iranian 
projects languished, a combination of factors in the world-wide demand 
for American shipping made the Iranian Mission a stepchild. In conse- 
quence an adequate force of skilled American personnel did not reach 
the base until 1 September, and "sufficient and necessary construction 
equipment" did not reach the site until October. 2 A Folspen report 
states that War Department approval of a traffic manager for ship- 
ments overseas was granted in December 1941 "too late to be of service 
in the first and second shipments," and that "after Colonel Lieber left 
for Persia there was no one in the War Department who really had the 
job at heart and in hand." 3 On 19 January 1942 Folspen wrote the 
Chief of Engineers that they had hired men on the basis of promised 
transportation which had been successively withdrawn until their work 
was being dislocated and their planning and procurement were reach- 
ing a point that "now prejudiced the progress of work in Iraq and 

1 (1) Memo, 26 Nov 41, sub: Procurement of Supplies for the Iranian Mission, AG 
400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. (2) Ltr. Col Lieber to Gen Wheeler, 13 Jan 42, carried by 
Gen Greely. Afr. M. 24/3, NADEF. (3) Ltr, Col Lieber to Engr, NAD, 14 Jan 42. 
Iran 46/30, NADEF. 

'Report of Foreign Manager on Fee Earned, WD Contract DA-W-1098-Eng-109, 
20 Mar 43. SWP Office. 

3 A. J. Ruge, Project Manager, Report on Iranian Operations, 9 Mar 43. SWP Office. 


Iran." The Deputy Chief of Staff replied that every effort was being 
made to find shipping, but that "an investigation reveals that delays 
in providing water transportation have been occasioned by scarcity of 
ships." 4 

The serious handicap of personnel shortages is illustrated by a 
few figures. Against Colonel Lieber's estimate of 1,300 men required, 
only 900 altogether were shipped to the base during the life of the 
Folspen contract and of these the peak number at the site at any one 
time was 751, reached in October. Hundreds of men were hired only 
to wait in New York for weeks on stand-by pay and per diem until 
shipping was provided. One shipment of 432 men, at a cost of $135,000 
in stand-by pay and per diem, embarked in March on the ill-fated 
voyage of the Agwileon and did not reach Iran until July and August. 
Their ship, badly overcrowded, developed engine trouble off Freetown, 
Sierra Leone. With food, water, and medical supplies running low, they 
lay there for repairs and then limped on to Capetown. From there, after 
ten weeks' layover — during which the cost of housing and feeding the 
constructor's men ran to $83,000 exclusive of their pay — the last of 
them were transshipped to the Persian Corridor, many of them, by 
arrival, hardly fit for work. Three weeks before 19 November, when 
Folspen was ordered to cease further hiring, there were 358 men await- 
ing shipment from the United States. 5 

To offset the lack of American men and machinery it was deter- 
mined in February to employ native workmen up to an estimated total 
of ten thousand, to be used chiefly in highway construction. Instead of 
bulldozers and tractors, primitive manpower, equipped with little 
shovels, filled potholes and heaped embankments against floodtime 
inch by inch with earth poured from small woven baskets filled by hand. 
Native labor was obtained at first through British agencies, and this 
sometimes resulted in the Americans getting less desirable workers. 
Later when the Americans issued coupons entitling the laborers to 
rations of tea, bread or rice, and sugar, they got their pick of the market 
without upsetting established wage scales. Labor was hired directly 
and, for certain projects, through labor contractors according to a 

* (1) Ltr, Folspen to CofEngrs, 19 Jan 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9^1) Sec 1. (2) Ltr, 
DCofS, 4 Feb 42. Same file. 

5 (1) Agwileon File. PGF 260. (2) Data on personnel shipments in Charles H. Sells, 
Report of the Foreign Manager, 10 Mar 43, SWP Office (cited hereafter as Sells Rpt) ; 
Final Report of the Safety Engineer, App. I, SWP Office; Memo, 2 Jan 42, Afr. M. 11/12, 
NADEF; Memo, 17 Jan 42, AG 400,3295 (8-9-41 ) Sec 1 ; Rpt cited n. 3 ; Ltr, to Col Lieber, 
1 1 Apr 42, quoted in Edmund A. Prentis, Progress Review of Construction Work, American 
Military Mission to Persia, 10 Mar 43, SWP Office; Report, Personnel Manager to Foreign 
Project Manager, Ahwaz, 21 Oct 42, DE File R-2, Reports, NADEF; Rad AMSIR 819, 
29 Oct 42, quoted in Ltr, Dir, Contl Div, SOS, Hq 1616-A, Munitions Bldg, Washington, 
to Engr, NAD, 4 Nov 42, NA 2051 (AMSIR) 159, NADEF. 


system used by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and the British Army. 
Skilled native labor, especially in the north, was adaptable, eager, and 
quick to learn new methods. They were certified for security by the 
British. As the labor force was a variable, no exact census is available 
for 1942; but as of 15 October there were only about 2,000 native 
laborers on direct hire, increased to 3,500 by 1 November, while 
contract labor on a unit-price basis accounted for some 3,500 more. 8 

No less serious than personnel shortages was the lack of mechanized 
equipment and construction supplies. With 10,000 long tons of engi- 
neer materials at sea in December 1941 , the district engineer in January 
requested shipping for 12,000 additional long tons of space and noted 
that 10,000 long tons of road construction and quarry equipment were 
being procured, all of which should be shipped by 1 5 April. Between 
14 February and 2 July, seven ships discharged cargoes of about 8,150 
long tons 7 of construction supplies and equipment for engineer proj- 
ects. Then came a disaster of the first magnitude when the eighth ship, 
the Kahuku, carrying 7,480 long tons of excavating, transportation, 
gravel, rock plant, and asphalt equipment was sunk on 15 June near 
Trinidad by enemy action. At one blow 60 percent of the required 
equipment for highway building was lost. 8 

In July Colonel Lieber reported to Colonel Shingler that the perma- 
nent road north from Ahwaz to Andimeshk, scheduled for completion 
by 1 September, was only 2 percent completed, and that with only 
about 20 percent of needed machinery on hand "the existing equip- 
ment situation in this district is critical." He noted the serious conse- 
quences, through the loss of the Kahuku, of having put all the eggs in 
one basket and urged that in future cargoes be divided among several 
ships in 500-ton lots. 9 

Intense efforts were made to obtain desperately needed items for 
use in the wharf and highway projects. A serious obstacle to wharf build- 
ing was lack of piling. Under early high-level planning the British had 

' (1) Rad 77 to Washington, 13 Feb 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. (2) Sells Rpt. 
(3) Ltr. Foreign Mgr to Folspen, New York, 15 Oct 42. NA 2146 (AMSIR) 2, NADEF. 
(4] |T!E art 2 

converted from figure of 16,300 ship tons given in Shipping Rpts. SWP Office. 

8 (1) Monthly Rpt of Opns for Dec 41, Iranian Dist Engr to Engr, NAD. Iran 46/30 
(another copy Iran 24/2-a), NADEF. (2) Memo, Iranian Dist Engr, 14 Jan 42. Iran 
46/30, NADEF. (3) Shipping Rpts. SWP Office. (4) Rad AMSIR 296, 21 Jun 42. AG 
400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. (5) Memo, OpNav, 12 Jul 42, with Summaries of Statements 
by Survivors, 6 Aug. 42. Ships Casualty File, Water Trans Serv Div, OCofTrans. (6) Work 
on procuring replacements did not begin until April 1943, ten months after the sinking and 
four months after cancellation of the constructor's contract. It was estimated that replace- 
ments would not reach the field until November. Rpt from Washington Office of PGSC 
to CG, PGSC, on Activities for Week Ending 20 Apr 43, 21 Apr 43. PGF 225. 

•Ltr, Col Lieber to Col Shingler, 12 Jul 42. DE File S-4, Ships, Shipping, and Sailings, 


undertaken to supply all piling; but the capture of the Andaman 
Islands by the Japanese on 23 March 1942 cut off the British source of 
promised timber. Many months were to pass before the British were 
able to deliver teakwood piles. These presented serious problems in 
construction which were satisfactorily solved by the Folspen technicians 
by an ingenious method of splicing. 

In July, following the loss of the Kahuku, Colonel Lieber dispatched 
a representative to India to obtain buses for transporting men from the 
road construction camps to their sites of work, and to locate sources of 
pipe, reinforcing and structural steel, I-beams, blasting dynamite, drills, 
rock crushers, road rollers, pumps, and dump trucks. The report of the 
survey indicated that co-ordination between the various Allied services 
in Iran and India was not yet highly developed. For example, in the 
face of need of pipe for American projects, the British "had recently 
moved about 75 miles of six inch pipe from Iran to India." It was re- 
ported that some fifty crates of trucks and passenger cars had been 
standing idle on the docks at Karachi for the past three months. Ma- 
chinery and equipment were scarce and expensive. Diversion of defense 
materials from China was investigated, but "General Wheeler stated 
that it would be impossible to secure anything from this source without 
an O.K. from Chungking which he knew would not be granted." 10 
Diversion from India of goods formerly designated for Singapore was 
explored, in view of the loss of Singapore to the Japanese five months 
earlier; but the record does not reveal the results of the inquiry. There 
was a considerable reserve in India of construction equipment as well as 
of transport trucks, but it was held by the British and could not be ob- 
tained by the Americans for their Iranian projects except by the time- 
consuming process of making application to Tenth Army at Baghdad 
which would in turn apply to New Delhi. Fortunately, back in the Cor- 
ridor, certain materials were plentiful along the route of the highway. 
Near Ahwaz was a quarry of low-grade sandstone which provided 
stone for the base course of the road. Twenty miles north of Ahwaz 
alluvial gravel was obtainable in ample quantities; and the Abadan 
refinery produced asphalt for top surfacing. 

No catalogue of handicaps and discouragements that affected con- 
struction would be complete without mention of the climate. Although 
winter temperatures in the region from Ahwaz to the Gulf ranged from 
35° to 70° F., with rain, the period between June and September rarely 
fell below 100° F. Average shade temperature at noon fluctuated be- 

" Report of a Trip to Karachi, India, by Capt Lawson T. Blood, 18 Aug 42. DE File 
R-2, Reports, NADEF. 


tween 120° and 140° F. Colonel Lieber has stated that in July and 
August at Ahwaz he would wait until the temperature dropped to 124° , 
an hour before midnight, before going to the roof of his billet to sleep. 11 

The handicaps under which the constructor forces worked took less 
toll of wharf construction than of highway building. After preliminary 
reconnaissance, undertaken while the Iraqi projects were still in prog- 
ress, and after the ships Texmar and Granville were moved from 
Umm Qasr to Khorramshahr in April 1942 to off-load their cargoes of 
dock lumber and equipment, personnel were assigned on 26 April to 
begin construction of two deepwater berths with the necessary rail and 
road approaches. A completion date of 1 August was set. 12 Because the 
move from Iraq was still under way and engineer and Folspen head- 
quarters were not permanently established at Ahwaz until June, the 
force was small. Khorramshahr at this time possessed only one small 
concrete wharf built in 1937 by European engineers. When the Ameri- 
cans arrived this wharf was covered by a large pile of coal and was not 
used for shipping. Its single crane has been described as "capable of 
lifting a ton or so when in working order." 13 The port was resorted to 
only when Bandar Shahpur was crowded. 14 The two additional berths 
undertaken by the Americans were designed, in conjunction with com- 
pletion of the branch line of the ISR being built by the British, to raise 
Khorramshahr's capacity to 2,200 long tons per day from the early 
1942 estimated capacity of between 200 and 700 long tons. 15 

Using materials brought from the United States, supplemented 
after midyear by British piling, the two new berths had been brought 
to 46 percent of completion by the end of June. 16 The British Tenth 
Army then requested construction of a third berth, increasing this 
later by three more. By the end of the year Folspen had built five open- 
deck pile trestle wharves sixty feet wide and had brought the sixth 
berth to 25 percent of completion, providing the equivalent of 2,125 

11 Notes and comments by Colonel Lieber for the author, 10 February 1949. 

"Rad, Hq, Iranian Mission, Basra to Iranian Dist Engr, Ahwaz, 26 Apr 42, sub: 
Revision of Projects, cited HOTI, Pt. IV, History of the Ports, by Ogden C. Reed, p. 7 
andn. 15. PGF. 

13 Notes and comments cited n. 1 1. 

M Rpt by W. H. Lock, British Ministry of War Transport, quoted in General Summary 
Report of the Program of the War Shipping Administration for the Delivery of Russian-Aid 
to the Persian Gulf Ports and the Relations of the War Shipping Administration with Other 
Agencies, Public and Private, for the Period Ending December 1944, by Nels Anderson, 
ME Representative for Recruitment and Manning, WSA. PGF 257. 

"Data sheet forwarded by Dist Engr to U.S. Naval Observer, Basra, 20 Jul 42. DE 
File P-9, Ports and Harbor Facilities, NADEF, A 1,000-foot lighterage wharf directed to be 
built was never begun "because of the failure to reach a decision as to the desired location." 
Sells Rpt. 

" Rpt of Opns, Iran-Iraq Serv Comd, 1 May-30 Jun 42. PGF 239. 


linear feet of deepwater berthing space. This represented 86 percent 
completion of the wharf construction task. 17 

Although the new wharf construction of 1942 provided for the 
greatly increased port capacity that was to follow the adoption of new 
methods of port operation in 1943, there was no great increase in ton- 
nage discharge during the civilian construction period above the 700 
long tons per day maximum estimated at the beginning of the year. 
Moreover, Soviet-bound goods tended by October to pile up in the 
Khorramshahr storage areas for lack of adequate inland clearance. 

While the British struggled with their transport responsibilities, 
completion of the highway by the Americans increased in importance. 
Early planning for one thousand miles of highway construction, predi- 
cated upon adequate manpower and equipment, had contemplated 
that twelve construction units would operate out of four main road 
camps to be established in desert, plateau, and mountain areas. There 
were to be five quarry or gravel plant units. 18 By midsummer, with only 
about four hundred Americans on the highway task, there were six 
road camps : Desert Camps 1 and 2 close to Khorramshahr and Ahwaz 
respectively; the Kharkeh River, Shaur River, and Sabz-i-Ab Camps 
between Ahwaz and Andimeshk ; and the Quarry Camp, called Foley- 
abad, three miles west of Ahwaz. 

Although handicapped by early uncertainties in planning, bridge 
construction turned in a better percentage-of-completion record than 
the highway program as a whole. During the planning period in late 
1941 it was not known how many bridges would be required for a road- 
building program not yet definitely located on the map. Indeed, Folspen 
were under the impression that the British would build all necessary 
bridges. 19 The general British commitment to provide construction ma- 
terials at the site was relied upon during the stage of procurement of 

" ( 1 ) Estimate in Tabulation of Directives, Change Orders, and Percentages Completed 
as of 15 Dec 42. DE File C-11.2, Correspondence on Directives, NADEF. (2) An estimate 
of 94 percent completion of wharf construction appears in Weekly Rpt of Opns to CG, PGSC, 
by Lt Col R. G. McGlone, Iranian Dist Engr, 26 Dec 42. DE File O-l, Operations, 
NADEF. (3) An estimate of 88 percent completion of wharf construction appears in In- 
formation To Be Furnished to the North Atlantic Division for the Purpose of Preparing 
a Completion Report for Contract DA-W-1098-Eng-109, as requested by letter dated 
10 May 1943 from the North Atlantic Division and signed by Capt, H. G. Groves. NA 
7205 (AMSIR) 13/2 and NA319.2 (AMSIR) 38/2,_ NADEF. Another copy PGF 239. 
Varying estimates result from differing bases of calculation. (4) See also Ltr, Col McGlone 
to Dist Serv Comdr, Ahwaz, 27 Apr 43. DE File A-l.8/1, Contracts, NADEF. (5) Also 
Ltr, Capt Enos B. Cape, Actg Dist Engr, Ahwaz to Folspen, 20 Jan 43, DE File S-4, 
Ships, Shipping, and Sailings, NADEF. (6) Completion by the Army of the sixth berth 
in 1943, together with the original concrete wharf brought the installation up to 3,251 linear 
feet of berthing space. 

"Ltr cited n. 1(2). 

"Ltr, Sells to author, 10 Oct 49. 


supplies. Arrived in the field, where they were ordered to build bridges 
from the start, the Americans had to hustle for materials. On the in- 
itiative of George Paaswell, Folspen chief engineer, who died of an 
illness contracted in Iran, steel girders from the recently demolished 
Sixth Avenue "El" of New York were shipped to Iran where they 
helped to bridge the Shaur River south of Andimeshk. Some steel 
beams from an underground cut-and-cover trench warehouse erected 
at Umm Qasr were brought over to Iran and worked into another 
bridge. A 900-foot concrete viaduct was built across the Bala Rud south 
of Andimeshk. All told, Folspen constructed twenty bridges totaling 
fifty-seven spans for an over-all length of 1,717.98 feet. By the end 
of 1942 the bridge-building task was 90 percent completed, although 
on the Ahwaz-Andimeshk leg of the highway completion was only 40 
percent of the goal. 20 

There is no general agreement in the mass of reports by different 
hands as to percentage of completion during 1942 of the permanent 
highway from Khorramshahr to Andimeshk. The temporary highway, 
which was a resurfaced stretch of desert track generally paralleling the 
railway with occasional forages across country, was completed all but 
for bitumen surfacing over the 172 miles of its length between Khor- 
ramshahr and Andimeshk. Folspen estimated the all-weather 24-foot 
paved highway between Ahwaz and Andimeshk, which received first 
priority, was 50 percent complete; estimates for the section between 
Khorramshahr and Ahwaz range from 28 to 48 percent. 21 

Delayed by manpower and equipment shortages, the highway pro- 
gram was also haunted by changes in specifications. In the early spring 
of 1943 the normal rains and spring floods inundated an area of 1,200 
square miles through which the American-built highway route lay, 
washing out two of the twenty bridges so laboriously and ingeniously 
built the previous year, and eight miles of road. Half the remaining 
mileage of completed highway was badly undermined and the trucking 
of Russian-aid cargoes inland away from the ports seriously slowed. 

Following this calamity recriminations sputtered on all sides, par- 
ticularly bitter on the part of the U.S. Army which took over from the 
engineer constructor in 1943 and was pushing the vitally needed artery 
northward with service troops and native labor. Flooding along the 
route was a known phenomenon taken into consideration in the prelimi- 
nary planning by the J. G. White Corporation when it was engaged 

a (1) Interv with A. J. Ruge, Project Mgr, SWP Office, 28 Oct 44. (2) Sells Rpt. 
(3) Ltr cited n. 6(3). (4) Information for Completion Report cited n. 17(3). (4) Tabu- 
lation cited n. 17(1). 

21 (1) Interv, Gen Shingler with Victor Pentlarge, Pentagon, 22 Apr 46. (2) Documents 
cited n. 17(1), (2), (3); and Sells Rpt. 


under the ordnance program. The country around Khorramshahr, 
with the exception of a narrow strip along the riverbanks, is barren, fiat 
desert subject to floods during the rainy season between November and 
April when precipitation averages 6.57 inches. To the north in the 
region of Ahwaz, the average precipitation reaches 8.92 inches, with 
flooding increased by the clayey nature of the flat desert and by drain- 
age from a group of soft sandstone ridges northwest of the town. In 
their planning, Folspen, aware of the J. G. White recommendations, 
proposed a 10-foot elevation at the southernmost end of the highway 
and, beyond the coastal region, a minimum elevation of 3.6 feet with 
matched openings and flood-control dykes where the highway paral- 
leled the railway. On 28 August 1942 Colonel Lieber approved these 
specifications, but later, for speed's sake, left the southernmost section 
at 10 feet but reduced the rest to a minimum of 3 feet and a maximum 
of 4 feet above the floor of the desert. His successor reduced the eleva- 
tion of the first four miles inland from the river to 8.5 feet; and in No- 
vember the third Iranian District engineer eliminated the control 
dykes, reduced the number of culverts, and cut the elevation of the 
road above the desert floor to only a foot and a half for all but a 25-mile 
stretch on the north end and a 4-mile stretch on the south, and for a 
short stretch encompassing five small bridges. The serious damage to 
completed roadways inevitably followed in the ensuing rainy season. 22 
Less harried by adverse circumstances than the highway and port 
tasks, the erection of necessary buildings was completed in 1942. The 
list of accomplished objectives included the laying of 8,000 square feet 
of concrete paving for the motor vehicle assembly plant being erected 
by the British at Andimeshk, buildings at Ahwaz providing 69,500 
square feet of floor space, and offices, carpenter shops, equipment 
repair shops, motor service facilities, refrigerator installations, and cool 
rooms for food at Ahwaz and elsewhere. 23 

Barge Assembly at Kuwait 

Included in the lists of American tasks drawn up by Generals 
Wheeler and Wavell in November 1941 was the assembling, for delivery 
to the Inland Water Transport agency of the British Tenth Army, of 
knocked-down prefabricated barges shipped from the United States. 
Before the war there was considerable barging up the Tigris River to 
Baghdad and some on the Euphrates. On the Karun River in Iran, 

" David F. Giboney, Report on Drainage Conditions, Highways — Ahwaz to Khorramshahr 
(Iran), 22 May 43. SWP Office. 

"Documents cited n. 17(1), (3). 


barges had furnished the chief means, before the British extended the 
railway to Khorramshahr, of carrying cargoes inland to Ahwaz, 
although at times of low water it was an uncertain means. By request 
of the British authorities early in 1942 the Americans undertook to 
provide large numbers of new barges for the Inland Water Transport 
to meet increasing demands of river traffic controlled by that agency. 
The assignment went to the Iranian District engineer. On 5 March 
Colonel Lieber earmarked $100,000 for the cost of local assembly; on 
13 April General Somervell notified Colonel Shingler that the first 
shipment of sixty-two disassembled barges which had been designed 
and procured in the United States would be shipped two days later; 
and Folspen, having been orally instructed to take charge of the project, 
notified their home office on 29 April that they were prepared to take 
over on 1 June. 24 

The site chosen for the barge assembly operation was the pic- 
turesque Arab town of Kuwait in the Sheikdom of Kuwait, a British 
protectorate sandwiched between Iraq and Saudi Arabia at the north- 
west corner of the Persian Gulf. Here an ancient hereditary guild of 
shipwrights, whose oral tradition claims that they once sent a party to 
the Mediterranean to instruct the Phoenicians, carried on a thriving 
native boatbuilding industry. 25 An adequate force of native craftsmen 
and carpenters was available to work under the supervision of a small 
number of American civilians responsible to an area engineer delegated 
by the Iranian District engineer. On 2 1 May a conference was held at 
Kuwait attended by Colonel Lieber, Charles Sells for Folspen, the 
British political agent for Kuwait, a representative of the Kuwait Oil 
Company, representatives of the U.S. Navy and Maritime Commis- 
sion, and the adaptable and co-operative chief of the native boat- 
builders' guild, Haji Ahmed bin Salmon. 20 

Because the sheik objected to the erection of an assembly plant 
within the walls of his city, a location was chosen in the quarter called 
Shuwaikh on a level beach near the oil company's pier. Since inade- 

" (1) The account of barge assembly draws upon History of Al Kuwait Station, 19 Jun 
42-10 May 43, by Ben W. Ferrell, PGF 28-D; Folspen Rpts cited in this chapter; HOTI, 
Pt. I, Ch. 8, Sec. 3, History of Movements Branch, Operations Division, Hq, PGC, prepared 
by Movements Branch, Operations Division, with Supplement by Laurence P. Corbett, and 
statistical appendix, Complete Summary of Port and Transportation Agencies Performance 
of PGC Operations through 31 May 1945, 5 July 1945, PGF; General Summary Rpt cited 
n. 14; Notes and comments cited n. 11; and Documents cited n. 17(1), (2), (3). 
(2) Formal authority to Folspen was Change Order 14, 8 Jun 42, effective retroactively. 
File, Foreign Directives and Change Orders, NA 7205 (AMSIR) 13/2, NADEF. Another 
copy PGF 239. 

"For an account see Alan J. Villiers, Sons of Sinbad (New York: Charles Scribner's 
Sons, 1940), Ch. 18, "Kuwait— Port of Booms." 

** Col Lieber, Record of Conference— Kuwait Barge Assembly, 21 May 42, at Kuwait, 
1 Jun 42. DE File C-3, Conferences, NADEF. 


quate or contradictory information arrived from the War Department 
on the number of barges being shipped, their unit weights, measure- 
ments, and delivery schedules, it was decided that the local guild would 
assemble a sample barge under engineer pay and supervision. Cost and 
time records were to be kept as a guide to future compensation on a 
contract basis under conditions of quantity production. Arrangements 
were made for construction of necessary plant facilities or adaptation 
of existing buildings, for unloading the barges, and for improvising 
necessary machinery and housing for the Americans. At this stage the 
number of barges was indefinite, but it was later set tentatively at five 
hundred. On 22 June an engineer lieutenant " and twenty-two Folspen 
employees reached the site. By 2 July, with the aid of local labor, they 
had constructed enough plant to commence assembly operations. 

Camp facilities were prepared by renovating, repairing, and adapt- 
ing two stone buildings formerly used as a community isolation hospital. 
These provided space for dormitories, offices, recreation, kitchen, and 
mess hall. Frame wash and latrine buildings were erected along with 
two Quonset huts for additional sleeping quarters and a first-aid station. 
A small stone house was put up for the area engineer and the camp 
manager. Other construction provided 2,000 square feet of floor area 
in two warehouses, and about 16,000 square feet of other space, of 
which nearly 1 1,000 were for two planking sheds, and the rest divided 
among repair shop, power plant, paint shop, carpenter shop, fuel stor- 
age, huts for interpreters and guards, and sun and cutting shelters. 

On 7 July assembly of the first barge was begun and was finished 
on 21 July. The next day quantity production was started on a twin 
assembly line, one barge being started each day until, by the end of 
October, 23 were simultaneously under assembly. It was a new tech- 
nique for the Kuwaiti workmen, but they took to it expertly. The 
barges, measuring 60 by 15 by 5 feet, weighed about seven tons and 
had a capacity of sixty tons. They arrived at the site knocked down, 
and their bolted framework was assembled upside down, the bottoms 
planked, and the canvas sides glued between two layers of planking. 
They were then turned over by cranes using improvised turning rigs. 
After the barges were turned over, their deck planking and hardware 
were fitted and the finished barges were ready to be towed away by 
sailing ships or motor launches to the waiting Inland Water Transport 
at Basra or Khorramshahr. The United States furnished the British 
with twenty-eight Eureka motor launches for this purpose, and a crew 
of men to instruct in their operation. 

" Lt Walter W, Santelman, succeeded, Jan 43, by Capt Earl L. Icke. 


The first shipment of barges to arrive for assembly consisted of 48 
craft made by Higgins Industries, Inc., of New Orleans. These arrived 
complete with blueprints and planking schedules, and little difficulty 
was experienced in their assembly. Assembly of barges from other com- 
panies began before blueprints or planking schedules arrived and, as 
there were differences in specifications, considerable delay arose in the 
process of fitting. Forty barges furnished by another company showed 
a variation of a quarter of an inch in their planking, causing assembly 
trouble. The lumber proved more than normally susceptible to soften- 
ing in water, making tight sealing of seams difficult. 28 

In the first month 20 barges were completed. By the end of 1942, 
186 had been assembled of 213 received from the United States. The 
original American force of 22 men had become 18. After the termina- 
tion of the Folspen contract, the district engineer continued to operate 
the Kuwait plant using about 185 native carpenters and about 85 
unskilled laborers. With the launching of the 368th barge on 23 June 
1 943, the work was completed. The project was terminated on 28 June. 
Ten incompleted barges were sent to Khorramshahr and turned over 
to the Russians. 29 

Administrative Problems 

Set down in a strange land, the constructor force found other prob- 
lems in addition to those encountered in building wharves and roads 
and assembling knocked-down barges. Methods of local procurement 
had to be devised and carried out. Arrangements had to be tactfully 
agreed upon with local sheiks, khans, and tribal leaders. Security 
for the American operations and personnel had to be contrived in an 
area where the westerners' business was not always welcomed or under- 
stood. And there were problems connected with the health, status, and 
discipline of the American civilian employees. 

Responsibility for procurement under the engineer contract be- 
longed to the contracting officer, the North Atlantic Division engineer, 
New York, who delegated all field responsibility and authority to the 
Iranian District engineer, through whose finance officer all of Folspen's 
field expenses, including purchases of materials and supplies, building 
rentals, field payrolls less allotments, field contracts, and miscellaneous 

** Barges also supplied by the Palatka Shipbuilding Company, Palatlta, Fla. ; the Scott-Graff 
Company, Duluth, Minn.; the Brownsville Shipbuilding Corporation, Brownsville, Tex.; the 
Lyons Construction Company, Whitehall, Mich. ; and the C. D. Johnson Lumber Company, 
Toledo, Oreg. 

M (1) Hist Rpt, 9th Port, Mobile, for Jun 43. PGF 12-F. (2) Hist Rpt, Kuwait Barge 
Assembly Project, for Jun 43. PGF 28-F. 


accounts were met. 30 Procurement was not, for the American command, 
what it is for the housewife, who buys a pound of sugar at her neighbor- 
hood grocery. Procurement had to fit into agreed Anglo-American 
procedures which were in turn conditioned by the local economy. Then 
there were the stipulations about procurement and payments contained 
in the President's Middle East Directive, and, when it came to the final 
transaction, there were complications of foreign exchange. 

The general theory was that local goods, services, accommodations, 
and rentals would be supplied in all possible cases by the British, and 
that necessary American local procurement would be conducted 
through existing British agencies and within price and wage categories 
determined by the British, so as to avoid competitive bidding and the 
upsetting of established practices. But Colonel Lieber soon noted ob- 
jections to the literal implementation of the theory when, in practice, 
American requisitions upon the British for needed items might, in some 
cases, have to be referred to Baghdad, or where, in practice, economies 
of time and effort could be achieved by direct American procurement 
and settlement of local debts. 

There was also the question of accounting for what was furnished 
by the British and efforts were made in Washington to define methods 
and procedures. The principle of reverse lend-lease was developed, 
sometimes called reciprocal aid, under which it was proposed to regu- 
larize aid furnished the United States by beneficiaries of lend-lease 
and to account for that aid. The Adjutant General issued instructions 
in June that "the services, supplies, equipment, or facilities will be 
inventoried, assessed as to value, and receipted for by the receiving 
unit. Agreement on estimated values will be sought with responsible 
representatives of the foreign government concerned. A record of 
dollar value of services . . . will be maintained in order that the 
government concerned may receive appropriate credit against his 
account on the lend-lease books." Items covered by American requisi- 
tions upon British Army authorities in Iraq and Iran were to be valued 
when possible in sterling. The principle of reverse lend-lease was offi- 
cially put to work in the Persian Corridor on 1 August, but the arrange- 
ments were modified in the important matter of pricing and record 
keeping by an Anglo-American agreement published at British 
headquarters, Cairo, in September. By this time there were small but 
steady accretions of American military strength in the area, and the 
financial arrangements applied increasingly to transactions between 
British and American military forces. The basic principle of the Middle 

'"Minutes of meeting at Washington, 14 October 1942, where Colonel Lieber explained 
the procedures to a group of PGSC supply officers. NA 2175 (AMSIR) 2, NADEF. 


East financial agreement, and in particular of those portions of it which 
applied in the Persian Corridor, was the abandonment of pricing. "The 
guiding principle to be followed in the case of all issues . . . as between 
the United States Forces and the British Army, and cash payments by 
the British Army on behalf of the United States Forces ... is that 
no financial adjustment will be made. It will be necessary, however, to 
maintain a record of the transactions on simple lines. . . ." The prin- 
ciple was reciprocally applied. In greater detail, Anglo-American 
agreed practice in the Persian Corridor was 

. . . that any facilities or services requisitioned or requested by the United 
States Government in connection with the Aid-to-Russia program . . . would be 
furnished by or through the British, rent free or without charge; and further, the 
United States forces . . . likewise reciprocated in furnishing facilities constructed 
by the United States, rent free, to Allied Forces where such facilities were not 
required by the United States during the period in question. 31 

The policy was not followed in other commands or theaters. While its 
adoption facilitated the peculiarly complex problems of doing business 
in the Persian Corridor, it produced numerous financial riddles to be 
solved only by the final Anglo-American lend-lease settlement of 1948. 32 
As American Army strength increased in 1942 it was determined 
that in so far as possible American personnel would receive supplies 
from American sources. Bulk issue of basic ration components was 
drawn from British sources and reinforced by importation or local pur- 
chase. A central purchasing agency was created in each area of the 
American command for the co-ordinated procurement of supplies 
and the employment of labor. In view of the severe inflation and near- 
famine conditions which had developed in Iran by late 1942, the effect 
of heavy purchases upon local markets called for such controls as this 

n (1 ) Memo, Col Lieber for Col Shinglcr, 18 May 42. DE File C-3, Conferences, NADEF. 
(2) Ltr, TAG, 22 Jun 42. AG 400.3295, Hq PGG. (3) Request to British by Hq, Iran-Iraq 
Serv Comd, 12 Aug 42. AG 400.3295, Hq PGC. (4) Cirs 23 and 25, Hq, USAFIME, 
27 Jul and 7 Aug 42. (5) GO 1175, GHQ, MEF, 4 Sep 42, covered all financial arrangements 
for the maintenance of U.S. military forces. AG 323.61 Establishment of Military Districts, 
Binder 2, Hq PGC. The provisions of this general order were supplemented by an agreement 
on reciprocal arrangements for building and land occupancy reached at a meeting of British 
hirings officers and American reciprocal aid officer, PGSC, at the British Area Hirings Office, 
Ashar, Basra, on 26 October 1943. Otherwise the Anglo-American financial agreement of 
September 1942 was neither rescinded nor modified. (6) Last two quotations from Financial 
Agreements between British and United States Forces in the Area of the Persian Gulf Com- 
mand [undated, but July 1945]. Details of Anglo-American procedures in financial matter* 
in the Middle East are reviewed in this document. Real Property Record, Item 10(1 )-Part A, 
PGC, Iranian State Railway, Real Property Record, MRS, PGC, K, Part A-Vol. 1. Drawer 2, 
Cabinet 2477, SL AMET (AG decimal files from Hq AMET formerly filed in drawers rmd 
cabinets at St. Louis, now filed at the Kansas City Records Center, AGO, Kansas City, 
MoJ 60. 

"Twenty-seventh Report on Lend-Lease Operations, Covering the Period from March 
11, 1941, through March 31, 1948 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1949), 
especially App. II, pp. 59-60. 


agency could exercise. From February through November 1942, such 
foods as mutton, bread, rice, and flour were obtained locally through 
the British. In December the U.S. Army began purchasing meats lo- 
cally. To help mitigate the conditions which produced local bread riots, 
the American command sold wheat or rice, sugar, and tea at legal 
prices and in rationed quantities to its native laborers. This practice 
increased the attractiveness of employment by the Americans, who — 
in their effort to protect the native workmen from the exploitation of 
millers, bakers, native labor foremen, and other elements in the local 
society that preyed upon the weak — hired native bakers and ovens and 
went into the baking business. The improved strength, efficiency, and 
morale of the native working force benefited the American war 
projects. 33 

Other local arrangements had to be made besides the financial to 
provide needed water and rail transport, rights of way, and clearances 
of various sorts. In making contacts of this kind the Iranian District 
engineer had the advice of four members of his staff who were familiar, 
through prewar experience, with the country, the languages, and local 
tribes and customs. 34 Iran, in spite of the centralization imposed under 
Reza Shah, possesses an ancient tradition of local and tribal autonomy. 
Great care was taken not to infringe local rights in obtaining such ma- 
terials as earth for mud bricks and gravel and rock for construction. 
There is record, for example, of a conference at Ahwaz in May 1942 
with His Excellency, the Governor of Khuzistan Province, at which 
Colonel Lieber inquired what arrangements were necessary in regard 
to such matters, including provision for damage which might be caused 
property holders. The governor stated that there would be no question 
about local materials and that he did not believe there would be any 
damage claims. Colonel Lieber offered to present a written plan of 
operations, but the governor replied most positively that while he 
desired to know the plan of operations, he requested that information 
be given orally and informally, inasmuch as written record would 
require reference to Tehran with resultant delay. 35 

33 (1) Sells Rpt. (2) Arthur C, Millspaugh, Americans in Persia (Washington: The 
Brookings Institution, 1946), p. 45. (3) Notes and comments cited n. 11, 

M Lt. Col. H. G. Van Vlack, chief of the health section; Capt. Paul D. Troxler, chief 
of the engineering section; Arthur W. DuBois, assistant to the foreign manager of Folspen; 
and David F. Giboney, assistant chief engineer of Folspen. 

38 ( 1 ) See Kermit Roosevelt, Arabs, Oil and History (New York : Harper & Brothers, 
1949), Ch. XVIII, "Iran: Tribesmen, Soldiers and Intrigue." (2) Memo of Conf, 9 May 42. 
DE File C-3, Conferences, NADEF. Present: the Governor of Khuzistan; Colonel Lieber; 
Maj. C. M, Hearn, chief of operations for the district engineer; Charles Sells; and the local 
Iranian labor contractor, Mr. Nassery. (3) Some dental work performed at Colonel Van 
Vlack's hospital at Ahwaz for certain local personages contributed to co-operative and friendly 
relations. Notes and comments cited n. 1 1. 


Security of American supplies and operations in southwestern Iran 
was noticeably enhanced by adoption of a policy of mutual trust rather 
than of force. After consultation with Iranian and British authorities, 
friendly negotiations were carried on by Lt. Col. H. G. Van Vlack and 
Arthur W. DuBois, of the Iranian Engineer District, with all important 
Arab sheiks and Lur khans in the area of operations in the province 
of Khuzistan. There, tribal chiefs who ruled thousands of followers as- 
sumed responsibility for enforcing upon the tribes respect for the 
security of American personnel employed on highway construction 
through lonely areas, and for the safety of American camps, stockpiles, 
and equipment. These chiefs supplied needed local labor, furnished 
guards and guides, and provided local supplies and incidental services. 
In return for their assistance the chiefs were paid a monthly honorarium 
of about thirty dollars, a sum wholly nominal to sheiks and khans al- 
ready rich enough, but accepted by them proudly as a token of the 
confidence in which the foreigners held them. 

Had the Americans chosen to assume toward the tribesmen an 
attitude of suspicion and hostility, the American projects in 1942, when 
British security forces were unequal to patrolling the territory, would 
have been helpless to withstand the incursions and raids that were 
customary, especially in the remoter regions. As it was, the policy of 
co-operating with self-respecting tribesmen, on the assumption that 
aims were held in common, limited petty pilfering to a minimum in 
spite of economic conditions which, as Mr. DuBois' report states, 
"brought the native population to extreme poverty and near starva- 
tion." According to the same report, the American alliance with the 
tribes established and maintained tranquillity in the area of operations, 
one traditionally harried by tribal raids. Furthermore, "a friendly 
hinterland was created to provide listening posts and a barrier to enemy 
activity," while the free offers of service by many tribal chieftains 
ranged them on the Allied side at a time when German agents were 
still operating in other sections of Iran. Reliance on the pledged word of 
the tribal leaders justified itself in practice. After considerable negoti- 
ation with the British, who were convinced of the effectiveness of Amer- 
ican methods, DuBois obtained from them rifles and ammunition which 
he turned over on loan to the chiefs for distribution among their tribes- 
men. Every rifle was returned despite the fact that good weapons were 
scarce and the tribesmen cherished firearms above all else. 36 

*" (1) Memo, by DuBois, Jan 43, sub: Report on Relations with Tribal Elements with 
Special Reference to American Operations in Southwestern Iran. Submitted to MID where 
it was impossible to locate a copy. Copy seen during interview with Mr. DuBois, Washington, 
2 May 1947. (2) Ltr, DuBois to author, 25 May 50. 


In the north, where no such arrangements prevailed, the presence 
of unfriendly tribes and bandits persuaded a planning group in Wash- 
ington not to extend American civilian contractor highway operations 
northward. The tribal arrangements were not continued after full 
militarization of the American projects was achieved in 1943. In view 
of the American experience with the tribes in southwest Iran in 1942, 
it is interesting to note a report that in 1949 the government of Iran took 
steps to enlist the tribes as a part of the country's internal defense 
system. 37 

Despite the severity of the climate the health of the Folspen em- 
ployees held up well — no small part of the credit going to the medical 
plans, preparations, and skill of Colonel Van Vlack. Between 4 Feb- 
ruary and 26 July 1942, 6.8 percent of total man-days worked were 
lost through illness; between 4 February and 1 December, however, 
the loss of time had averagd down to 2.7 percent of man-days worked. 
There were three deaths in line of duty. 38 

Discipline among the American civilians employed on engineer 
tasks was at no time a major problem. Of the nine hundred men shipped 
to the base, only fifty-five were discharged for cause during the life of 
the contract. There were some among them who had been hastily se- 
lected in the United States. The arrival in July and August of the large 
group of more than four hundred men who had experienced the de- 
moralizing effects of the voyage on the Agwileon ushered in a brief 
period in September and October marked by shirking, drunkenness, 
and disorder, centered at Ahwaz. That this was confined to a minority 
of malcontents is attested not only by the small total of discharges for 
cause, but by the fact that peak construction activity was reached during 
those same months, the first in which adequate manpower and equip- 
ment were available. The bad behavior of the few does not reflect upon 
the achievement of the majority. It is recorded to illustrate how the few 
were dealt with by the military. As Colonel Lieber has written, "The 
loneliness and heat rapidly separated the men from the boys." 30 

On 10 September Colonel Shingler informed General Maxwell that 
some Folspen men were refusing to work in hope of being sent home. 

" (1) Conference at Washington, 14 October 1942, attended by Col. Stanley L. Scott, 
Chief of Staff, Persian Gulf, SOS; Colonel Lieber; Mr. Ruge; Col. Roy C. L. Graham, G-4, 
SOS; and Col. Theodore M, Osborne. NA 2175 (AMSIR) 2, NADEF. After the success 
of the American plan, Brigadier Douglas, British commander responsible for the security 
of the area in which the Americans were operating, abandoned plans to post 3,000 armed 
guards in Luristan, and entered into arrangements with the Lurs for safeguarding the ISR 
between Andimeshk and Dorud. Interv cited n. 36(1). (2) Sam Pope Brewer, "Iran In- 
corporates Tribes into Army," The New York Times, May 14, 1949. 

" (1) Health and Time Studies. SWP Office. (2) Sells Rpt. 

39 (1) Sells Rpt. (2) Notes and comments cited n. 11. 


War work was thereby being delayed. Colonel Lieber had recom- 
mended that a Selective Service board be established to induct a few 
men, and Colonel Shingler concurred "that such action on a few mal- 
contents is necessary." Inasmuch as civilians accompanying or serving 
the Army are subject to military law, General Maxwell replied that 
"against all civilians whose refusal to work delays war work, you are di- 
rected to institute proceedings under the 64th and 96th Articles of 
War." The first of these articles concerns assaulting a superior officer or 
disobeying his command, and carries a maximum death penalty. The 
second covers general and miscellaneous acts to the prejudice of good 
order. The Army therefore invoked the Articles of War, assembled the 
men, and read the articles to them. Three civilians were court-martialed 
and locked up. The British authorities had also complained that drunk- 
enness and disorderly conduct were rather prevalent and were notified 
in reply that the American civilians, who had no American military 
police to look after them, "have been informed that they are subject to 
the authority of British MP's on the streets and in public places in 
Ahwaz." On 10 October Colonel Shingler requested the co-operation 
of Folspen leaders, and ordered the commanding officer of the Central 
District, PGSC, at Ahwaz to see that steps were taken to control 
drunkenness and brawling, to establish a curfew, and to inform all 
concerned that out-of-bounds zones would be established and culprits 
tried by American military courts. Matters promptly quieted down, and 
the Folspen foreign manager informed his home office on 15 October 
that "discharges have dropped so as to be almost negligible." He at- 
tributed improved conduct to the recent courts-martial, and to the 
fact that "we have reached the end of the rotten apples in the 
barrel. . . . There is also the added factor that the job is going ahead 
and interest in the work is growing daily." *° 

The Contract Terminated 

In problems and uncertainties the last months of the year of con- 
fusion were no exception to their predecessors. In the period from Sep- 
tember to the end of the year the Persian Gulf Service Command was 
reorganized to discharge the new mission, assigned it by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff, to assume direct responsibility for the delivery of war 
materiel to the USSR. In the same period the War Department's policy 

" (1) Ltr, Col Shingler to Gen Maxwell, 10 Sep 42. 250.1 Morals and Conduct, SL 8991. 
(2) Msg, Gen Maxwell to Col Shingler, quoted in Ltr, Actg Iranian Dist Engr to Folspen, 
22 Sep 42. SWP Office. (3) Sells Rpt. (4) Ltr, Ex Off, PGSC, to British Asst Provost 
Marshal, Tehran, 25 Sep 42. SWP Office. (5) Ltr, Col Shingler to CO, Central Area, 
10 Oct 42. 250.1 Morals and Conduct, SL 8991. (6) Ltr cited n. 6(3). 


of militarizing overseas contract activities was applied to the Iranian 
District engineer's constructor, Folspen. Militarization was a policy de- 
termined long in advance of the change in the status of the American 
command in the Persian Corridor. But militarization in the Corridor 
was hastened by the rapid development of the new organization under 
General Connolly whose advance personnel reached the area in Oc- 
tober, and whose first shipment of more than five thousand service 
troops went ashore at Khorramshahr on 11 and 12 December.* 1 The 
termination of the engineer construction contract and plans to carry 
on construction by military instead of civilian personnel were distinct 
from the reception, accommodation, and employment of the service 
organization sent to Iran under the directive of the Combined Chiefs. 
It should be borne in mind, therefore, that the gradual increase of mili- 
tary personnel which raised military strength from 190 in July to over 
400 at the end of October was a reinforcement of the Iranian Mission 
and its successors, the Iran-Iraq Service Command and the Persian 
Gulf Service Command, designed only to further their tasks in con- 
struction, assembly, and advice and assistance to the British in move- 
ment of cargoes to Soviet receiving points. In the final months of 1942, 
militarization of construction work and the establishment of General 
Connolly's command coincided in time; but almost to the end of the 
year they remained distinct but complementary activities. This ac- 
counts in part for uncertainties which accompanied termination of the 
Folspen contract. 

This step was implicit in the War Department's policy decision of 
February 1942; but it did not become practicable until November. 
Even then some weeks were required to reconcile the views of Washing- 
ton, Cairo, and Basra as to when and how it was to be accomplished. 42 
On 1 8 November Services of Supply headquarters at Washington made 
to General Maxwell, Commanding General, SOS, USAFIME, alterna- 
tive proposals: to terminate the Folspen contract, transferring the ci- 
vilian personnel to Army payroll to carry on construction activities ; or 

"History: United States Military Iranian Mission, 20 Mar 43, prepared for Col Don 
G. Shingler, Chief of Mission, by 1st Lt Victor E. Dietze, Hist Off. PGF 242. 

" For proposals, plans, and authorizations respecting termination and subsequent military 
construction activity, see: Rad AMSME 1869, Somervell to Maxwell, 18 Nov 42; Rad 
AMSME 2797, Maxwell to Somervell, 27 Nov 42, repeated, Rad, Maxwell to Connolly, 
4 Dec 42; Ltr, Maxwell to Connolly, 3 Dec 42, sub: Termination of Spencer, White & 
Prentis and Foley Bros. Contracts, with 1st wrapper ind, Scott, CofS, PGSC, to Osborne, 
Dir of Cons, PGSC, 14 Dec 42, and 2d wrapper ind, Osborne to Connolly, 14 Dec 42; 
Ltr, Osborne to CG, PGSC, 5 Dec 42, sub: Cancellation of Contract DA-W-1098-Eng-109 
with Foley Bros., Inc., and Spencer, White & Prentis, Inc. ; Rad C-368, Connolly to Maxwell, 
12 Dec 42; Rad 279-Z, Maxwell to Connolly, 14 Dec 42; Rad AMSME 3305, Lt Gen 
Frank M. Andrews, CG, USAFIME, to Somervell, 18 Dec 42; Rad AMSME 2510, Somervell 
to Maxwell, 25 Dec 42; Rad AMSIR BASRA 321-Z, Maxwell to Connolly, 30 Dec 42. 
PGF 239. 


to militarize construction completely, and return to the United States 
any civilians not inducted. Maxwell replied on 27 November that mili- 
tarizing by enlisting the civilians in the Army was impracticable inas- 
much as a census just conducted revealed that only a few of the men 
would enlist and that under the draft laws and labor agreements their 
entry into military service was a voluntary matter. He therefore sug- 
gested placing under direct employment of SOS, USAFIME, all suit- 
able and willing civilians then employed by Folspen, to be followed by a 
progressive discontinuance of construction by this working force until 
it had been supplanted by service troops who would complete both 
scheduled and new construction projects. 

This plan was communicated to Headquarters, PGSC, on 3 Decem- 
ber with a proposal that the progressive militarization of construction 
work be carried out by a general construction battalion of one thousand 
Corps of Engineers officers and men to be organized in the United 
States and shipped to Iran. In the opinion of Col. Theodore M. 
Osborne, Director of Construction, PGSC, the work could be accom- 
plished by available civilian and military personnel before such an 
outfit could be trained and shipped to the site. He also pointed out in a 
letter to General Connolly that it was considered desirable to divorce 
the Iranian Engineer District from the Engineer Department and the 
North Atlantic Engineer Division at the earliest practicable date, 
transferring its activities to the jurisdiction of the PGSC under SOS, 
USAFIME. This suggestion indicates that consideration was being 
given in the field to ending the parallel responsibilities of the district 
engineer and the commanding general, and to finding a better means 
of centering control and authority in construction matters. Colonel 
Osborne proposed establishment in Washington of a section at SOS 
headquarters to take over the administrative functions being handled 
by the Folspen New York office ; but this problem was to be handled 
otherwise. General Maxwell suggested, along the same lines, that per- 
sonnel be transferred from the Folspen New York and overseas staffs 
and from the North Atlantic Division to the port of embarkation to 
carry on procurement and shipment functions after termination of the 
contract; but on 25 December General Somervell disapproved. 
Washington, Cairo, and Basra, though considering different means, 
were pursuing the same end: to continue construction operations 
according to the general pattern of 1942 rather than as an integral 
part of the new American responsibilities which were primarily 
concerned with transport. 

Meanwhile, on 12 December, General Connolly notified General 
Maxwell that he was ready to take over the Folspen tasks; but General 


Maxwell cautioned him that the contract could not be canceled with- 
out approval from Washington, and then only by the North Atlantic 
Division engineer in New York. Word that all necessary steps had 
been taken was dispatched to General Connolly from Cairo on 
30 December. The War Department and the Corps of Engineers had 
decided to terminate those portions of the Folspen contract that dealt 
with construction and engineering work, but to leave in effect Folspen's 
responsibility for administration of matters relating to personnel supply 
and service. 

The Folspen organization both at home and in the field was seri- 
ously affected by the uncertainties inherent in the Army's efforts to 
determine when and how to wield the ax. Personnel recruitment in the 
United States continued up to 19 November, when it was stopped. It 
was obvious that an adequate supply of trained technicians would be 
required in the field for some time to come regardless of what details 
were agreed upon for termination and progressive militarization. 
Other factors, too, contributed to uncertainty in the field and to a 
deterioration in relations of the constructor with the district engineers. 
Perhaps not the least of these was the departure of Colonel Lieber for 
Washington on 13 September to take part in consultations, at the office 
of the Chief of Engineers and in SOS, concerned with the planning 
and organization of the new regime to be headed by General Connolly. 
After Colonel Lieber four district engineers served in succession before 
their office was abolished.* 3 

The lack of continuity in the office of District Engineer was re- 
flected in a variety of ways, all of which tended to interfere with the 
performance of its work by the constructor. Folspen was called upon to 
furnish work, men, and materials outside the scope of the directives. 
The morale of Folspen employees was not improved as Army officers 
increasingly undertook direct personal supervision of work instead of 
issuing orders and directives through constituted civilian supervisors. 
There were many breaches of the established relationship between the 
engineer and his constructor : Folspen men were called upon to unload 
ships whose cargoes were not related to their projects; to handle, sort, 
transport, and store materials, supplies, and equipment pertaining to 
other organizations; to service, repair, and maintain such equipment; 
to transport personnel not connected with the constructor's work; to 
furnish engineering, designing, surveying, and blueprinting services to 
organizations other than the engineer's; to provide personnel, equip- 
ment, and materials for construction work other than that falling within 

u The second Iranian District engineer was Lt. Col. Carl L. Meng ; the third, Colonel 
Osborne; the fourth, Colonel McGlone; and the fifth, Captain Cape. 


the engineer contract and directives; to surrender materials, supplies, 
equipment, and personnel to other organizations; and, in connection 
with the arrival of the five thousand U.S. service troops at Khorram- 
shahr, to supply military personnel — often hundreds of men at a time — 
with food, housing, transportation, and equipment, at all hours, and 
with no advance notice. 44 Fearful that noncompliance or even deter- 
mined protest would bring cancellation of their contract, Folspen at- 
tempted to co-operate until the work to which they were committed by 
contract was seriously obstructed. 45 Then, on 12 December, after the 
last of the troops had landed, Charles H. Sells wrote a letter to the dis- 
trict engineer. He stated that persistent but unconfirmed rumors of the 
termination of the contract reaching the employees had shattered 
morale and made continued orderly planning and prosecution of the 
work very difficult. He added : 

Consistent and continuing demands are made upon our warehouse by Army 
officers for supplies and materials entrusted to our custody pursuant to our contract, 
and orders and directions given by your officers to our workmen and foremen. 
Under the conditions, therefore, you are requested to immediately advise the Con- 
structor ... to the end that confusion may be eliminated, an orderly and 
efficient plan of future operations established, and the present violations of contract 
provisions eliminated. 10 

On 15 December Lt. Col. R. G. McGlone, district engineer, replied 
that the contract would be terminated on 1 January or as soon as pos- 
sible thereafter. Individual personnel contracts would be transferred 
to the United States and the men placed under the direct orders of the 
district engineer. On 31 December Sells requested the engineer to 
speed the day inasmuch as the increasing extent to which Army officers 
were making extracontractual demands had drastically cut production 
below the highs of September-October. Formal termination followed 
by letter to Folspen dated 1 January 1943, relieving them "of all re- 
sponsibility for construction and engineering work in this command," 
adding, "It has been agreed by your home office to continue in force 
those sections of the subject contract relating to personnel supply and 
service." On that date all equipment and materials in the custody of 
Folspen were turned over to the United States, and the district engineer 
took over direction of some seven hundred civilians and their projects. 47 

On 3 1 December the district engineer issued instructions so detailed 

** List in Information for Completion Report cited n. 17(3), pp. 12-13. 

" Intervwith Sells, Pleasantville, N. Y., 28 Oct 44. 

" Ltr, Sells to Dist Engr, 12 Dec 42. DE File, unnumbered folder, Administration NADEF. 

*' (1) Ltr, Col McGlone to Folspen, 15 Dec 42; Ltr, Sells to Dist Engr, 31 Dec 42; 
Ltr, Dist Engr to Folspen, 1 Jan 43. DE File, unnumbered folder, Administration, NADEF. 


as to list the assignment of named individual truck drivers to specified 
road camps. Certain newly arrived troop units were moved into sections 
of the incomplete Khorramshahr-Andimeshk temporary highway, 
whose completion depended on ability to move supplies of bitumen 
from Abadan. An effort was made to dispose available civilian and 
troop workers in such a way as to keep plant and equipment in con- 
tinuous operation. A completion date of 15 February was set for the 
temporary road. 48 

In view of the difficulties which had dogged the construction pro- 
gram from its inception in 1941 to termination of the operational 
features of the Folspen contract at the end of 1942, it is noteworthy 
that final costs and the contractor's fee, estimated upon the basis of 
cost plus a fixed fee, fell well within original estimates. In 1941, when 
planning was necessarily highly tentative because tasks were as yet 
undetermined in detail, construction costs had been estimated at $25,- 
000,000, for a fee of $1,250,000. Construction completed by Folspen 
amounted to $22,563,093, for a fee of $884,457. 49 To recapitulate the 
work done : Folspen had built five wharf berths at Khorramshahr and 
one fourth of a sixth berth. Twenty bridges, constituting 90 percent 
of projected bridge construction, were finished. The temporary high- 
way between Khorramshahr and Andimeshk was ready except for bi- 
tumen surfacing. The permanent highway averaged less than 50 per- 
cent of completion. All buildings undertaken had been erected; and 
186 barges assembled at Kuwait. With the termination of the Folspen 
contract, remaining construction was up to the Army. 

" ( 1 ) Plan of Operation on Work under Direction of United States District Engineer, 
31 Dec 42. DE File C-11.2, Correspondence on Directives, NADEF. (2) Ltr, Dir of 
Cons to CofS, PGSG, Basra, 31 Dec 42. 611 Roads, SL 9042. 

" (1) Rpt cited n. 8(1). (2) Ltr, Contracting Off, NAD, to Folspen, 22 Apr 44, citing 
Final Estimate for Work Performed to Dec 31, 1942, and Rpts submitted to Div Engr, 27 Apr 
43 and 10 May 43. SWP Office. (3) Rpt cited n. 2. 


Aircraft Assembly and 

The British commitment to deliver supplies to the USSR through 
the Persian Corridor involved undertakings in three categories in 
which the United States participated. In construction and assembly, 
the United States aided as a British auxiliary in 1941 and 1942. From 
1943 on, the United States, acting in logistic matters as a co-ordinate 
partner, added aid in transport to that previously rendered in the other 
two categories. 

Early Plans 

American aid to Great Britain in the assembly, storage, overhaul, 
and repair of United States aviation equipment sent to the Middle East 
was authorized by the President's Middle East Directive to the Secre- 
tary of War in September 1941, and implemented for the Iran-Iraq 
area by the Secretary of War's instructions in October to General 
Wheeler to establish and operate essential assembly facilities. The First 
(Moscow) Protocol of 1 October obligated the United States to make 
available to the Soviets large numbers of aircraft and posed the formid- 
able question of their delivery. In November the Special Observer 
Group at London (General Chaney's mission) dispatched a representa- 
tive to Russia to investigate routes over which American planes could 
be delivered. The Americans hoped at the time that aircraft could be 
flown via Alaska across Siberia to Soviet receiving points convenient to 
the battle areas in the USSR. After long delays they learned that the 
Russians, suspecting the Americans wished flight route information for 
strategic reasons, would refuse to approve any arrangement for delivery 
which involved flight by American pilots across Soviet territory. The 
Russians proposed that delivery be accomplished by ship to Archangel 


and Murmansk, and at or outside the Soviet frontier in the Middle 
East. 1 

American aircraft were delivered to the USSR over three routes : 
by flight to Fairbanks, Alaska, where they were taken onward by Soviet 
pilots; by ship to Archangel and Murmansk, while those beleaguered 
ports were practicable for convoys ; and by flight and ship to the Persian 
Gulf, the only all-year route. Of the 14,834 American aircraft made 
available to the Soviet Union under lend-lease, slightly less than one 
third, or 4,874, were delivered via the Persian Gulf, of which 995 were 
flown in and 3,879 were shipped. 2 Upon arrival these aircraft required 
refitting or assembly, as well as test flights. The variety of types and 
models, the complexity of aircraft construction, the need for skilled 
technical personnel, were special problems increasing the normal 
difficulties of the Russian-aid program in the Corridor. 

The Douglas Aircraft Company had been selected in October 1941 
to operate a British-aid air depot as contractor for the Air Corps within 
the framework of the North African Mission. 3 Project 19, as this opera- 
tion was called, was located at Gura, Eritrea. In November General 
Maxwell took part in discussions of the American Aid Subcommittee at 
Cairo concerning possible American participation, through the Iranian 
Mission, in British aircraft assembly at Shu'aiba. In December General 
Wheeler, after inspection of sites in the Basra area and at Abadan, 
and with the concurrence of British and American air authorities, in- 
cluding a representative of Douglas, selected as the location of an 
American aircraft assembly plant the airfield three miles north of the 
Anglo-Iranian Oil Company refinery on Abadan Island. 

Meanwhile, the Douglas Aircraft Company was authorized, by a 
War Department letter of intent dated 25 November 1941, to under- 
take the assembly task in the Persian Gulf. It was called Cedar Project, 
short for Civilian Emergency Defense Aid to Russia. The word civilian 
is a reminder that the United States was not yet a belligerent. A letter 
proposal by Douglas to the Materiel Division, Wright Field, Ohio, 
dated 1 December, specified that the contractor would undertake 

1 The Special Observer Group Prior to the Activation of the European Theater of Opera- 
tions, October 1944, pp. 102-03, 105. Hist Sec, ETO. Study superseded by The Predecessor 
Commands: The Special Observers and United States Army Forces in the British Isles, by 
Warrant Officer (jg) Henry G. Elliott, Part I of The Administrative and Logistical History 
of the European Theater of Operations. 

" The total given is that of the U.S. proposal to the USSR for settlement of the lend-lease 
account in 1947. See The New York Times, April 15, 1947. An earlier figure of 14,018 
aircraft delivered by all routes between 22 June 1941 and 20 September 1945 is in Report 
on War Aid Furnished by the United States to the USSR, Fm-ricm F.ronomic Sec. Office 
of Foreign Liquidation, Dept State, 28 Nov 45, p. 18. See | Tables 1 Oi l 1 1.1 an d| Chart 31 

* Lt Col Elmer E. Adler, Advance Air Force Plan for the North African Mission, 13 
Oct 41. 319.1, ASF NCF. 


Cedar Project, then planned for Basra, and would construct all build- 
ings, hangars, power supply, improvements to real property, airfields, 
transmission lines, telephone, radio, water and sewage systems, storage 
warehouses, living quarters, mess halls, miscellaneous subsistence facili- 
ties and hospital, "and all other items incident to said depot," and that 
the contractor would supply equipment and spare parts and would 
operate and maintain the depot. 4 The Douglas proposal was followed 
on 20 December by a supplementary letter of intent increasing from 
two to five million dollars the amount allowable for preparatory ex- 
penses. The contract, signed 3 January 1942 and approved by the 
Under Secretary of War on 6 January, stipulated an estimated cost for 
Cedar Project of $7,259,548.08 and a fixed fee of $435,572.88. This Air 
Corps contract for "construction and operation of depot at or near 
Basra, Iraq, Asia," was to run until 30 June 1942. It was twice extended 
bv change orders, first to 31 December 1942, later to 17 November 
1943. 5 

Although the contract as signed omitted from the contractor's duties 
the construction of airfields listed in the letter proposal, its other pro- 
visions respecting construction are noteworthy as overlapping both the 
general Anglo-American arrangements for construction of Iranian 
Mission installations by the British and the responsibilities in construc- 
tion assigned the Iranian District engineer. In its operational provisions 
the contract clearly stipulated that Douglas "shall organize, equip and 
operate" the depot, and exercise "exclusive direction and control" over 
all contractor civilian employees. The administrative status of Cedar 
Project with relation to the Iranian Mission and the Air Corps was 
from the start ambiguous. As described by Colonel Shingler in April 
1942, the Iranian Mission acted in an administrative capacity, but 
technical supervision of operations "is exercised by the U.S. Army Air 
Corps through the Air Section" of the North African Mission at Cairo, 
whose air officer acted for the Iranian Mission. 8 There was no repre- 
sentative of the Air Corps contracting officer in Iran until May. The 
effect of the contract as planned before Pearl Harbor, but necessarily 
carried out under war conditions, was to place a civilian organization 

'Letter Proposal, 1 Dec 41. Drawer 69, Prime Contract No. 1, Project 19, Douglas Files 
(Foreign Projects File, Storage Files, Douglas Aircraft Company, Santa Monica, Calif.). 

' (i) Draft of Minutes, Board of Directors, concerning Project 19 and Cedar. Drawer 
69, Board of Directors— Minutes. Douglas Files. (2) Harold Courlander, Paul L. Hcefler, 
and others, History of Project 19, Abadan Ch., pp. 65-87. Drawer 101, Douglas Files. 

(3) With the second extension of the Cedar contract to 17 November 1943, costs for 1943 
were estimated at $1,946,160. Drawer 69, Prime Contract No. 1, Project 19, Douglas Files. 

(4) Contract DA-W-535^ac-870. Same file. 

"Col Shingler, Rpt to American Aid Subcommittee, Cairo, sub: Status of Projects as of 
April 30, 1942. 334.8 American Aid Subcommittee, SL 9011. 


in almost complete authority over its operations, including selection, 
hiring, and training of personnel; procurement of equipment, tools, 
and parts; the operation of aircraft assembly and disassembly; and 
maintenance, overhaul, and repair of aircraft, engines, propellers, and 
instruments. The contract stipulated that the Persian Gulf plant ought 
to handle each month 100 twin-engine light attack bombers (A-20's), 
1 00 single-engine pursuit fighters ( P-40's ) , and 1 2 twin-engine medium 
bombers (B-25's), subject to certain contingent circumstances named 
in Clause 1(b)(4). This target, as the story will show, was not 
achieved. Inasmuch as the contract stipulated that American person- 
nel would work at the site of the Persian Gulf plant, Douglas obtained 
a modification to allow as costs under the contract work performed 
by its employees away from this plant. During the life of the contract 
there was considerable fluidity in the assignment of Douglas employees 
to projects in Eritrea, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran. 7 

The Battle of the Backlog 

A long road stretched between planning and expectations, as ex- 
pressed in the contract, and performance. From the outset more planes 
arrived than could be processed. Throughout the history of plane as- 
sembly, both in the contractor period and in the period of Army op- 
eration after cancellation of the Douglas contract in March 1943, the 
battle of the backlog was fought against a variety of odds. The flow of 
planes to the Persian Gulf under the Moscow Protocol began with a 
first shipment from New York of four Boston light twin-engine bombers 
(A-20's) on 28 November 1941. When these reached Basra on 23 
January 1942, one American Air Corps lieutenant and eight Douglas 
mechanics were there to supervise their erection. 8 This was an advance 
force, not the start of assembly operations under Douglas management. 
The first Boston bomber was delivered to the Soviets in February. Dur- 
ing March only 5 additional craft were delivered, and an accumulated 
backlog of 33 planes warned that the flow was greater than the ability 
to take care of it. Yet at that time, the first shipload of Douglas ma- 
terials was only just leaving New York. Not until early May was it off- 
loaded at Abadan, to be followed on 17 May by the arrival of 356 
Douglas employees, 122 of them transferred from Project 19 at Gura. 

'Ltr, Chief, Contract Sec, Materiel Center, OofCG, Army Air Forces, 27 Jun 42. 
Tollefson's file, Douglas Files. 

* ( 1 ) Unless otherwise noted, dates and figures are from PGC Historical Charts. PGF. 
(2) Aircraft Assembly Chronology. PGF 245. (3) Backlog figures from tables compiled bv 
Hist Br, OTI, Hq, PGC. PGF 245. (4) History cited n. 5(2). 


These, along with 9 Air Corps officers and 42 enlisted men, commenced 
aircraft assembly at Abadan under the Douglas contract on 20 May. 
Although 120 planes were delivered to the USSR by 31 May, the 
backlog had reached nearly 200. 

Before the start in May of Douglas operations at Abadan, the Royal 
Air Force (RAF) undertook to assemble planes for the USSR until 
Douglas could take over. This agreement, reached on 22 December 
1941, went beyond the earlier Anglo-American arrangements respect- 
ing establishment of an American plant at Abadan, under which the 
RAF was to erect planes for British use at Shu'aiba and elsewhere in the 
Basra area, reserving Abadan for Russian-aid assembly. In an effort to 
cope with the backlog problem, the British, under the supervision of 
the American advance force, began on 2 February to modify the first 
Boston bombers, originally designed to RAF specifications, to make 
them suitable for delivery to the Russians. The alterations were chiefly 
in radio and armament. British willingness to surrender to the Soviets 
planes consigned to them was reciprocated later in the year when, 
because of the critical need for aircraft in the desert fighting west of 
Cairo, 40 A-20's consigned to the USSR were released on 1 1 July and 
flown to Egypt. It was during the interim period early in 1942 that 
Soviet complaints about the quality of assembly at Shu'aiba were re- 
ferred to General Greely's mission for adjustment. 10 

Under the Abadan agreement the British were to provide local 
labor, utilities and land, and necessary housing and shedding; while 
the Americans would furnish tools, accessories and equipment for as- 
sembly, the planes to be assembled, and the skilled personnel for the 
operation, including instruction in flying and servicing the American 
machines. Construction, begun on 30 December 1941, was sufficiently 
advanced by early April to enable the RAF to begin limited assembly 
operations on Russian-aid planes at Abadan. The fifty RAF mechanics 
assigned on 8 April from the Basra area were soon increased to two 
hundred. 11 

Back in the Basra area the RAF assembled planes for both British 

' (1) Rad, Air Ministry, Whitehall, from Air Vice Marshal Sir Arthur W. Tedder, 
to RAF, ME, 10 Dec 41. Chronology cited n. 8(2); another copy PGF 2. (2) First 
Progress Rpt, by Lt Col Robert C. Oliver, Actg Chief, Air Sec, U.S. Mil North African 
Mission, 11 Jan 42. NA 319.1 Progress Reports, Cairo (11-27-41), ASF NCF. (3) Memo, 
Hq, U.S. Mil Mission, Baghdad, 17 Jan 42, sub: Projects. PGF 125. (4) Rad AMSIR 10, 
to Gen Wheeler, 21 Jan 42, on agreement at Washington between Gens Sidney Spalding 
and Moore and British RAF representatives. MID 400.3295 1-21-42 (1-6^2). 

" (1) Ltr, Capt A. B. Swank, Contl Div, Hq, PGSC, to CofS, PGSC, 18 Apr 43, sub: 
Status of Aircraft Deliveries at Abadan, PGF 2. (2) Ch. IV, p. 75, above. 

11 Memo, Hq, British Forces in Iraq, 27 Jan 42. AG 323.6 1, Hq PGC, 


and Soviet account. The first twin-engine Mitchell medium bombers 
(B-25's) reached Basra on 12 March and nine days later, because 
Basra was considered unsuitable to process them, Shu'aiba became the 
B-25 receiving point, Russian-bound planes arriving by sea were off- 
loaded at Margil. Some were trucked overland to Shu'aiba for as- 
sembly; others were assembled at Basra and Margil and flown to 
Shu'aiba for further processing, final inspection, and check. American 
plans made before Pearl Harbor had contemplated the delivery, by 
American pilots flying to the Soviet border, of planes assembled in the 
Persian Gulf area; but after Pearl Harbor the shortage of available 
American pilots led to agreement by the Russians to take delivery them- 
selves, first at Shu'aiba, and, after Abadan got into operation, at 
Abadan, It had also been contemplated that certain American planes 
could be flown direct to Tehran from the United States or from inter- 
mediate assembly points outside Iran. For a period later in the spring 
this plan was accomplished; but at the beginning planes arriving by 
air were delivered in the Basra area. 

The processing of B-25's constituted a special problem. After the 
first delivery accomplished in the Basra area on 17 April 1942, it was 
decided on 24 May to remove B-25 assembly from Shu'aiba to Tehran, 
where on 12 January the British had rented an aircraft factory for the 
use of the Iranian Mission. The B-25's could fly direct to Tehran from 
Habbaniya without touching at Persian Gulf bases. To prepare them 
for delivery, thirty-two of the newly arrived Douglas technicians were 
loaned to Tehran from Cedar Project along with fourteen Air Corps 
personnel. On 31 July, upon completion of their work on the B-25 s 
provided under the First (Moscow) Protocol, this small force of Ameri- 
cans returned to Abadan but went back to Tehran on 1 September to 
take care of B-25's arriving under the Second (Washington) Protocol. 
The Tehran plant was outstanding for its smooth operation and lack of 
friction with Soviet inspectors. Much credit is due to its commanding 
officer, Capt, John Allison, who later became a combat commander 
and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Air. Colonel Shingler met 
Allison while the latter was on leave at Tehran after a period of service 
in the USSR as a technical expert in processing P-40's that arrived 
through north Russian ports. Impressed by Allison's knowledge of Rus- 
sian and the Russian people, Shingler obtained his transfer to direct the 
work at the Tehran check point. On 15 September, in compliance with 
a Soviet request transmitted by Col. Leonid I. Zorin, the B-25 project 
was removed to Abadan, thus marking the final step in a process of 


concentrating American aircraft assembly for the USSR at the Abadan 
depot. 12 

This process was first undertaken to relieve the pressure on the 
British plant at Shu'aiba and was accelerated both by the establish- 
ment of the Douglas organization at Abadan and by British agreement 
in midsummer to permit the assignment of Soviet mechanics to that 
plant. By 26 June congestion at Shu'aiba brought about the removal 
from Shu'aiba to Abadan of the final assembly operation hitherto done 
by the RAF. The small American group remaining at Shu'aiba followed 
on 4 September. 

At Abadan the backlog was a pressing problem to be solved only 
by a sufficiency of mechanics. Colonel Shingler, now commanding 
officer of the Iran-Iraq Service Command, responsible to General Max- 
well, commanding officer of USAFIME, reported to Cairo on 22 July 
1942 that he had for some time fruitlessly urged Maj. Gen. G. de la P. 
Beresford, commanding general of the British Basra Line of Communi- 
cations Area, to permit the transfer from Shu'aiba to Abadan of Soviet 
mechanics. Some 30 of them were sent to Shu'aiba on 26 May and 
their number had increased to 148 by midsummer. The British Foreign 
Office had allowed only 10 Russian technicians at Abadan, notwith- 
standing an absence of objection to the presence of Russians in that 
strategic location on the part of the AIOC, and the "apparent" ap- 
proval of the British Air Ministry. Colonel Shingler stated, "Cannot 
continue as in past to cover up British reluctance to Soviet at 
Abadan. . . . Soviet after exclusion from our Abadan project is 
sending complaint from Moscow and Washington, D. C, while the 
same matters are probably being investigated by Faymonville while 
en route to Tehran." 13 

Although the British had officially abandoned in January 1942 
an earlier policy to prohibit flight of Soviet aircraft over the British 
zone, the underlying caution behind that policy survived in the con- 
tinuing British objection to the presence of Soviet mechanics at 
Abadan. 1 " 

General Maxwell promptly took the matter up with the Royal Air 

" (1) Memoranda exchanged between Harry Hopkins and General Burns on 3 June 1942 
in the course of the discussions with Molotov which preceded agreement on the Second 
(Washington) Protocol, indicate that Molotov was told the United States would fly 12 B-25 
bombers monthly across Africa for delivery at Basra or Tehran, and would ship 100 A-20's 
to the Persian Gulf monthly for assembly there, Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 
575-76. (2) Notes supplied the author by General Shingler, 16 May 1950. 

u (1) Rad, Col Shingler to Gen Maxwell, 22 Jul 42. AG 600.12 Abadan, Hq AMET. 
( 2 ) Attached papers, same file, for material in following paragraph. 

" Rad 7, signed Walter Thurston, Kuybyshev, citing Faymonville, to State Dept, 3 Jan 42. 
635 Airplane Assembly Bases (Aircraft for Russia) , ASF NCF. 


Force and the Middle East Forces in Cairo. While he was doing this, 
General Adler, whose Air Service Command, U.S. Army Middle East 
Air Force, Cairo, shared responsibility for Abadan operations, had 
cabled Lt, Gen. Henry H. Arnold in Washington. By the time General 
Arnold called upon General Maxwell for information, Maxwell was 
able to report the removal of British objections. The Soviet mechanics 
began arriving at Abadan on 22 August and by 8 September all 148 
of them were there to help attack the backlog. Thus by mid-September 
the interim period of British help was over and plane assembly for 
Russia was concentrated at Abadan under American responsibility. 

Meanwhile, the months immediately preceding the arrival of the 
main body of Douglas operatives in May 1942 had been marked by 
much confusion and delay in delivering planes to the Soviet Union. 
On 2 April General Wheeler had sent General Somervell a statement 
of difficulties. The inexperience of the RAF in the assembly of American 
machines, the necessity of familiarizing Russian pilots with them, and 
delays arising from changing the Bostons from British to Soviet specifi- 
cations bulked large in the list. 15 

Prominent also was the insistence of the Soviets that planes be 
without flaw. Russian fastidiousness in inspection and Russian com- 
plaints brought, on 16 May, a detailed explanation to the Soviets by 
General Faymonville, head of lend-lease at Moscow, that in the opinion 
of Iranian Mission officers plane delivery was being impeded because 
of unnecessary objection on the part of Soviet officials. Matters were 
ironed out after the visit of Russian officers to Basra and adoption of 
more reasonable demands by Col. Ivan I. Obrazkov, chief of the 
Russian Air Force personnel in Iran. 16 In this connection it must be 
recalled that, under agreement, lend-lease goods became Soviet prop- 
erty at the point of departure from the United States. 17 Furthermore, 
as the commanding officer of Cedar Project reported in August to Gen- 
eral Maxwell, hundreds of the first planes sent from the United States 
were old machines recognized by pilots as having been ferried by them 
earlier in the United States. Some had been used there for pilot training 
and had been repeatedly overhauled. They arrived without logbooks 
or spare parts. They were reconditioned upon arrival in the Persian 
Gulf and 339 out of 360 such craft were accepted by the Russians. 18 

"Rad, Gen Wheeler to Gen Somervell, 2 Apr 42. 323.61 Establishment of Military 
Districts, Binder 1, SL 9008. 

,s HOTI, Pt. I, Chs. 1-5, Administration, by George B. Zeigler and (Ch. 5 only) Wallace 
P. Rusterholtz, with Annex by Victor H. Pentlarge, Jr., pp. 21-22. PGF. 

" Ch. I, p. 25 and n. 39, above. 

18 Rpt, Col Charles P. Porter to Gen Maxwell ; and min of mtg in Gen Maxwell's office, 
Cairo, 22 and 25 Aug. 42. AG 600.12 Abadan, Hq AMET. 


The most serious early handicap, in the opinion of General Wheeler, 
was "the lack of a senior air officer of field grade who is an expert in 
technical details and capable of co-ordinating airplane matters." 19 At 
the beginning, although his staff included two railway consultants and 
a pipeline consultant, there was no air officer, nor, in spite of Wheeler's 
appeal, was one assigned. Not until 25 May did Maj. Charles P. Porter, 
appointed earlier that month, arrive at Abadan to become commanding 
officer of Cedar Project. 

Being under Air Corps contract, the Douglas-operated Cedar Proj- 
ect and Air Corps personnel connected with it found themselves in- 
volved in several chains of command. Functioning physically within the 
area of the Iranian Mission they fell administratively under its jurisdic- 
tion. But inasmuch as the Iranian Mission possessed no air officer and 
as air command for the Middle East was centered in Cairo at the seat 
of the North African Mission, they fell technically under the jurisdic- 
tion of the Air Section of that mission. Moreover, being engaged in 
highest priority Russian-aid work under lend-lease, they came logically 
within the purview not only of the Iranian Mission but (until its dis- 
solution) of General Greely's mission to the USSR. Finally, as a further 
complication, the contractor, lacking for many months a representative 
on the spot as Air Corps contracting officer, was entitled, as was the 
Air Corps commanding officer of Cedar after his arrival in the field, 
to communicate directly with Air Corps officials in the United States. 

The resultant confusion inevitably affected problems of supply, op- 
eration, continuity of policy, and relations with the British and Rus- 
sians. As General Adler, chief of General Maxwell's Air Section, re- 
marked in a message to General Arnold, instead of the original plan 
whereby Cedar was to be administratively under the Iranian Mission 
and technically under the Air Section of the North African Mission, the 
project found itself by mid- April 1942 embarrassed by a plethora of 
advisers, since the Maxwell, Wheeler, and Greely missions "are all 
involved in attempt to manage the project and to co-ordinate matters 
with the British and Russians." 20 This was, of course, the situation even 
before the arrival of the main Douglas contingent in May created daily 
problems in command responsibility; while on the other hand, the situ- 
ation was somewhat eased by the abandonment of the Greely mission 
some two weeks after the Adler message. 

The undefined boundary between administrative and technical re- 
sponsibility created a no man's land of multiple command responsibility 

u Rad cited n. 15. 

"Rad 860, Gen Adler to Gen Arnold, 19 Apr 42. Russian Mission File, AME Theater 
Office, OPD. 


which was to plague the project throughout its existence. At the start, 
as reported by General Maxwell's Air Section in early January 1942, 
"The Air Section has established excellent relations with Headquarters, 
RAF, Middle East and Air Headquarters, Egypt, the Chief of the Air 
Section having clearly established in their minds that he acts as the 
representative in this area of the Chief of the Army Air Forces, as 
well as the Air Officer on the Staff of the U.S. Military North African 
Mission." Soon afterward, in a letter to the vice president of the Doug- 
las Aircraft Company, even more sweeping responsibility was claimed 
for the Air Section, when General Adler wrote that it was "charged 
with the administration of all air matters in the Middle East, including 
the Gura and Abadan projects." Yet the chief of the Air Corps, in a 
directive defining the authority of the Air Corps representative at 
Cedar over Douglas, appeared to overlook Maxwell's Air Section while 
stressing the primary responsibility of the Iranian Mission. The Air 
Corps representative, ran the directive, exercises jurisdiction over the 
contractor "under instructions from the Headquarters of the Iranian 
Mission, in the same manner as the district supervisor or factory in- 
spector exercises jurisdiction over a contractor's plant in the United 
States." Matters were further clarified by General Maxwell's declara- 
tion in July to General Adler, formerly his air officer, and now, upon 
the organization of USAFIME, with its new authority over the Iran- 
Iraq Service Command, commanding general of the Middle East Air 
Service Command. With the single exception of aid from General 
Adler in technical matters, said Maxwell, he, as commanding general 
of USAFIME, was responsible for both the Douglas projects at Abadan 
and Gura." 

Although construction responsibility at Abadan was divided be- 
tween the British Army and the Douglas Aircraft Company, with the 
Iranian District engineer helping out, necessary building was achieved 
with a minimum of confusion. The first Douglas ship, which arrived in 
May 1942, brought to Abadan 2 hangars, 14 warehouses, 120 Quonset 
huts, and 10 Dimaxion circular huts — all prefabricated and ready for 
quick erection at the site. Upon their arrival at Abadan the Douglas 
personnel found among the installations there — some of them recently 
erected by the British — 3 hangars, 8 brick office and shop buildings, 36 
India huts for living quarters, and 3 all-weather paved runways, one 
5,500 feet long which was later extended by the AIOC to 6,500 feet. 22 

" (1) Rpt cited n. 9(2). (2) Ltr, Gen Adler to Carl Cover, 9 Feb 42. Drawer 69, 
Cairo Office, Douglas Files. (3) Directive, Chief, U.S. Army Air Corps, to CO, Cedar 
Project, 13 Feb 42. Drawer 69, Prime Contract No. 1, Project 19, Douglas Files. (4) Min 
Stf Mtg at Cairo, 14 Jul 42. AG 334.8, Hq AMET. 

" Hist Rpt, Abadan Air Base, for Nov 41 through Nov 43, 1 Jul 44, pp. 7-8. PGF 2-K. 


With their own equipment and locally secured materials, the Douglas 
people erected warehouses, a hospital, garage, shops, and living 
quarters; using bitumen from the AIOC plant on the island, they also 
laid hard-surface aprons in front of Hangars 1 and 2. 

While construction proceeded, the personnel fluctuated both as to 
numbers and component elements of the staff. Unlike the engineer con- 
structor, who worked under a small military staff, the Air Corps con- 
tractor had a considerable military staff to deal with at the start, and 
one which grew, proportionately, faster than did the numbers of 
civilians. By mid-August 1942, when Colonel Porter reported to Gen- 
eral Maxwell in Cairo, there were 65 officers and men of the Air Corps 
assigned to Cedar and 354 Douglas civilians, of whom about a hundred, 
borrowed from Project 19, would soon return to Gura. Some 600 
natives, principally employed upon construction work, plus the first 
arriving Soviet mechanics and the RAF men sent over from Basra and 
Shu'aiba completed the Cedar staff. As the construction program grad- 
ually attained its objective the number of natives diminished. The total 
number of Douglas men at Abadan tended to remain in the neighbor- 
hood of 200, although the number borrowed from Gura during 1943 
varied from a low of 41 to a high of 199 in May. At mid-March 1943 
there were 436 Air Corps officers and men assigned to the project, with 
193 Douglas civilians, 165 Russians, and 54 native workmen. 23 

The relatively large numbers of military personnel, coupled with 
the contractual stipulation giving the Douglas Company full authority 
over its own civilian employees, led to considerable conflict as to local 
responsibility for the operation of the plant. On 10 June 1942 Colonel 
Porter, claiming that the Douglas management had failed to control 
its employees, placed them under military regulation. In an appeal to 
the men made also on that date, Colonel Shingler, chief of the Iranian 
Mission, reminded them that their work was as essential to the war 
effort as actual combat. In August Colonel Porter was able to report 
that, although internal quarrels among the local Douglas managerial 
staff had adversely affected morale and work for a time, the civilian 
staff was working well. But on 3 November he found it necessary to 
dismiss the Douglas project manager and one other for what he termed 
inefficient leadership, and for permitting feuds, absenteeism, ineffi- 
ciency, and the violation of military regulations imposed through 
Colonel Porter by the PGSC or the British Tenth Army. At the same 
time Porter praised the work of the Douglas employees and, taking note 

" (1) Rpt cited n. 18. (2) History cited n. 5(2). (3) Rpt, Plant Opns Office, Basra 
Dist, PGSC, 20 Mar 43. PGF 125-G. 


that their contracts were soon to expire, hoped that they would see fit 
to renew and stay on at the base. 24 

Personnel, ambiguities in the chain of command, overlapping con- 
struction responsibilities — these were some of the factors affecting pro- 
duction of assembled aircraft ready to be flown away to Soviet 
battlefields. Although in any event production was dependent upon the 
number of skilled mechanics available, the highly variable rate of ar- 
rival of craft to be processed must be taken into consideration in any 
assessment of the efficiency of operations. For example, in one week in 
March 1943 — the last month of Douglas management — 90 aircraft 
arrived in the Persian Gulf, while only 18 were accepted by the Rus- 
sians: 14 A-20's and 4 P-40's. In the following week only 14 aircraft 
arrived, and only 8 were accepted: 2 A-20's, 1 B-25, and 5 P-40's. 
The net total of unassembled (backlog) aircraft, under such circum- 
stances, becomes quite meaningless as a measure of systematic 

Because aircraft of the same make and model differ in some small 
detail from each other, and since planes cannot be stamped out with 
a die like a piepan, assembly of any two planes of the same make and 
model cannot be standardized down to the last split second of time-study 
measurement. When a single assembly plant, moreover, handles a va- 
riety of models and makes and does not know from one day to the 
next which to prepare for, no standard routine can be established that 
can turn out work with the mechanical regularity of a doughnut ma- 
chine in a shop window. The first P-40's (single-engine Kittyhawk pur- 
suit planes) reached the Persian Gulf by ship on 15 November 1942. 
These were latecomers to Abadan, having been preceded since late 
1941 by large numbers of Boston bombers (A-20's). The first Bell 
Airacobra fighter (P-39) arrived at Abadan by sea on 8 December 
and, though a new type at the plant, was finished and flown out on 13 
December, to be followed the next year by over a thousand more. 2 * 

Because of the foregoing factors, the battle of the backlog was an 
uneven contest with the odds too often stacked against the human 
factor. At the end of the first month of Douglas operation — May 
1942— nearly 200 aircraft were awaiting assembly. By the end of June 
this number had fallen to a little over 100, as against total deliveries 
that month of 128 craft. During the next few months, the backlog 

14 (1) Page 11 of Rpt cited n. 22. (2) Rpt cited n. 18. (3) History cited n. 5(2), 
pp. 76ff. The dismissals were concurred in by General Connolly and the air officer of 
TJSAFIME. Walter Beck, chief Douglas representative for the Middle East, considered them 
a question of personalities, with trivial aspects. The dismissed manager was Norman H. 
Millstead— ^— 

1 Table IT] 


averaged less than 25 unassembled machines, but rose again at year's 
end to about 75. By this time a total of 742 aircraft had been delivered 
to the Russians. 2 * In February 1943, as greater quantities of crated 
planes were received, the backlog rose rapidly, reaching about 170 by 
the end of the month, and rising to 200 during March as against only 
114 deliveries in that month. This was the state of affairs as the Douglas 
contract came to an end. 


It was ordained by the Washington directive of February 1942 that 
overseas contract activities should be militarized as soon as practicable. 
As the personnel figures have indicated, the Air Corps was able to 
throw military personnel into the Abadan project relatively faster than 
its contractor could supply civilians, with the result that Cedar Project, 
in a sense, automatically militarized itself. But so long as the Douglas 
contract was in force the preponderance of military over civilian per- 
sonnel remained, from the point of view of control and management, 
an anomaly. The Douglas Aircraft Company, therefore, became the 
third civilian contractor to be dispensed with. The first Douglas con- 
tract, expiring in June 1942, had been renewed until the end of the 
year. On 15 November General Maxwell, as Commanding General, 
SOS, USAFIME, recommended that it be renewed only through 31 
March 1943 and that two air depot repair squadrons and a headquar- 
ters and headquarters squadron of an air base group be assigned to 
reduce the backlog. On 1 7 November Air Corps officials in the United 
States renewed the contract for one year from that date instead of the 
period recommended by Maxwell; but at a meeting in Cairo on 14 
January 1943, Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, Commanding General, 
USAFIME, decided that sufficient military personnel were available 
to militarize Cedar Project as soon as possible. A few days later it was 
informally communicated to Bert N. Snow, Douglas representative at 
Abadan, that militarization would be accomplished by 1 April. 27 

At the end of 1942, while the change to militarization was merely 
a rumor among the men at Abadan, only 30 percent of them had ex- 

20 Table 10. This figure includes craft assembled by the RAF with American supervision 
and an craii delivered before the commencement of Douglas management and operation. 
The Douglas officials estimated 600 deliveries by their organization through 31 January 1943. 
Ltr, Bert N. Snow to Douglas Aircraft Company, 31 Jan 43. Drawer 211, Status Reports — 
Project 19 and Combined, Douglas Files. 

" (1) Ltr cited n. 26. (2) Ltr, Maintenance Div, Hq, Air Serv Comd, Patterson Field, 
Ohio, to Douglas Aircraft Company, 23 Jan 43, transmitting rad from Bert Snow. Drawer 
211, Status Reports — Project 19 and Combined, Douglas Files. 


pressed a desire to renew their individual contracts into the new year. 
After the new situation was clarified, 87 percent of the available Doug- 
las mechanics at Cedar Project signed on, to 31 March 1943, while 
Colonel Porter agreed with the Douglas representative that during that 
final contract period Air Corps officers would transmit orders only 
through the Douglas civilian superintendents. 28 In January 1943 the 
82d Air Depot Group arrived at Abadan for a period of orientation 
before taking over from Douglas in April. 

Notice of termination of the Douglas Cedar contract was given by 
Colonel Porter to Jack A. Ahern, the new Douglas manager, and Bert 
Snow, Douglas representative, under date of 2 March 1943. The notice 
stated that on or about 31 March the company would cease construc- 
tion, the hiring, selecting, and training of personnel, and the procure- 
ment, warehousing, and all other work on aircraft, so that after that 
date "the Contractor shall have no further affirmative duty to perform" 
save evacuation of the site and return of his personnel to the United 
States. 29 On the same date Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, now com- 
manding general of USAFIME, ratified General Andrews' previous 
decision to terminate the contract, and forwarded Colonel Porter a 
tentative draft of a comprehensive release of the Douglas Company 
which had been prepared by George Lupton, that company's legal 
counsel. The letter of termination declared : 

The Government hereby states that this notice is not being given because of 
the fact that the Contractor at any time has refused, neglected, or failed to prosecute 
the work required [but because] conditions have arisen in connection with the 
direction and prosecution of the current war . . . that [require that] work under 
the contract be discontinued. 

Colonel Porter, having discharged an earlier Douglas project manager, 
gagged a bit at signing the release sent him ready-made from Cairo; 
but after a trip there and conferences at headquarters, he signed on 
26 April a modified Release, Receipt, and Certificate of Performance 
in eight Whereases, one Now Therefore, and twenty-four Clauses. This 
document stated that all procurement was wise and prudent, all wage 
scales proper, all waste necessary, and all work of whatsoever nature 
performed at the command of, and by the specific authority of, the 
contracting officer under circumstances as healthful and free of hazard 
"as has been possible under the existing conditions"; and that not only 
did the contractor comply, clause by clause, with his contract, but that 

! Ltr cited n. 26. 
'History cited n. 5(2). 


at all times his operations, books, and records were open and known 
in minute detail to Colonel Porter. 30 

Up to 1 April 1943, when the Air Corps took over management and 
operation of Cedar Project at Abadan, 1,025 aircraft were delivered to 
the USSR in the Persian Corridor, or an average of about 75 a month. 
Of these, 197 A-20's and 111 B-25's were flown in to the area, leaving 
717 craft which were assembled after arrival by sea. The cost of the 
work performed under the Douglas contract was $3,795,735, about half 
the original estimate; but it must be realized that the target contem- 
plated by the contract was not achieved. The fee to the Douglas Aircraft 
Company was $435,572, as originally estimated. 31 

" (1) Ibid. (2) Memo, Snow for Cover, 5 Mar 43. (3) Ltr, Snow to Cover, 28 Apr 43. 
With copies of documents cited, in Drawer 211, Status Reports — Project 19 and Combined, 
Douglas Ejlea 

( 1 ) |Table_10jBreakdown from source given in table. (2) Cost figures from Ltr, L. E. 
Tollefson, Contract Administrator, Douglas Aircraft Company, to author, 16 Jan 47. 


Motor Vehicle Assembly 
and Delivery 

In the manufacture of motor vehicles American methods of mass 
production have achieved quantitative results unequaled by any other 
industrial power. This industrial potential, a valuable asset in mech- 
anized warfare, the United States shared with its Allies through lend- 
lease. To the Soviet Union through 20 September 1945 went 409,526 
lend-lease trucks of United States origin. Some idea of the extent to 
which the United States shared its output with the USSR may be 
gained from figures of its production of military trucks during the war 
years. Total output during the peak year of 1943 was 648,404 military 
trucks. The trucks sent to Russia were thus the equivalent of seven and 
a half months of United States output at the highest annual rate 
achieved during the war years. It has been estimated that the lend-lease 
trucks received by the USSR from the United States represented two 
years and seven months of the prewar capacity of the less highly de- 
veloped Soviet motor industry. American trucks therefore bulked large 
as an addition to Russian production capacity. Nearly 45 percent of 
these American trucks reached the USSR via the Persian Corridor. 
Of these, 88 percent were assembled in the American-operated plants 
at Andimeshk and Khorramshahr from March 1942 through April 
1945. 1 

Though the Russians were the chief beneficiaries of the motor ve- 
hicle assembly program in the Persian Corridor, assemblies were also 
performed for the British Army, for the United Kingdom Com- 
mercial Corporation, for the American Army, and for the Iranian 

1 ( 1 ) Report on War Aid Furnished by the United States to the USSR, Foreign Economic 
Sec, Office of Foreign Liquidation, Dept State, 28 Nov 45, p. 19. (2) Official Munitions 
Froduction of the United States by Months, July 1, 1940-August 31, 1945 (Special Release, 
May 1, 1947), Civilian Production Administration (formerly War Production Board), p. 233. 
(3) Military Intelligence Division, Review of Europe, Russia and the Middle East, I 
(2 Jan 46), No. 10, estimates 370,000 t rucks as equivalent to twenty-eight months of prewar 
Soviet production. (4)^H?tjIe7|and Charl^" 


Government; nor were the American truck assembly plants (TAP's) 
the only ones in the region. Truck assembly was an important British 
activity which, by the Middle East Directive of September 1941, the 
Americans undertook to share. 

Certain terms used in this chapter require explanation. After manu- 
facture the vehicles were partly disassembled and crated for overseas 
shipment according to several patterns. The designation TUP covers 
several types of packing called two-unit, double-unit, or twin-unit 
packs, comprising two chassis and one cab or two cabs and one chassis. 
The so-called Beta Pack, a form designed by the British, included one 
complete vehicle with or without body packed in one, two, or more 
cases and required variations in the assembly process after unpacking. 
Properly this term is applicable only to British-specified vehicles, but 
the Americans seem to have employed it loosely and interchangeably 
to designate packed knocked-down vehicles in general, as well as the 
assembly apparatus used to put them together again after uncrating. 
The term Beta Pack is even applied sometimes in the records to the 
lumber used in the crates. The term motor vehicle includes trucks, 
trailers, jeeps, and weapons carriers. The generic term truck is em- 
ployed in this text for the output of the TAP's. 

In 1938, after Munich, the Overseas Division of General Motors 
Corporation had foreseen the need for locating emergency vehicle 
assembly plants at strategic sites. Foreseeing also the likelihood that 
the closing of the Mediterranean to shipping would heighten the im- 
portance of the Persian Gulf, General Motors at that time submitted to 
the British War Office a recommendation to establish emergency as- 
sembly plants at or near Basra. After the invasion of Poland a year 
later, the company designed an emergency TUP assembly unit with 
a bolted structural framework on a poured concrete floor, to be housed 
under canvas or other temporary shelter. Equipped with cranes, trac- 
tors, trailers, and battery chargers, this plant would have a capacity 
of fifty trucks per each eight-hour shift. A single such plant could 
therefore turn out 1,300 trucks in a month of twenty-six working days 
on a one-shift basis. The significant saving of shipping space by overseas 
assembly of cased knocked-down vehicles recommended the assembly 
plant idea, and in May of 1941 the British Purchasing Commission 
bought four of these plants for shipment to the Middle East. It was 
thus through the arrangements made between General Motors and 
the British, and through the availability of trained General Motors 
personnel in India, that the company was selected to carry out the truck 


assembly operations undertaken by the Americans for the British in 
the Persian Gulf area. 2 

Plans and Plants 

After some negotiation a letter of intent was issued by the Office of 
the Quartermaster General on 5 January 1942 under which the com- 
pany operated while details of a contract were worked out. Later, the 
unsigned contract with The Quartermaster General was transferred to 
the Office of the Chief of Ordnance in a general shift of War Depart- 
ment responsibilities. The Ordnance-General Motors contract, signed 

29 December 1942, was effective as of the date of the letter of intent, 
which was modified during the year by twelve supplements, the latest, 
of 30 December 1942, extending the General Motors contract to 

30 June 1943. 3 

The work which General Motors, as a civilian contractor under the 
jurisdiction of the Iranian Mission, was to do fell within the authority 
given General Wheeler in his Letter of Instructions to render aid, 
through assembly operations, to British, Russian, and other friendly 
forces in his area. By early 1942 the British were already operating an 
assembly plant at Rafadiyah for their own military services. The 
Iranian District engineer furnished some technical advice and assist- 
ance at this plant and, when the American construction projects in 
Iraq were abandoned, this technical aid to truck assembly continued 
at Rafadiyah. A second British assembly plant, at Bushire, was busied 
chiefly in assembling American lend-lease vehicles from India assigned 
to the UKCC to enable it to carry out its motor transport mission. 4 
Both plants were capable of assembling vehicles for Soviet account as 
well as their own when need arose; but together they were inadequate 

3 Unless otherwise noted, statements concerning General Motors operations are based upon: 

( 1 ) Chart, Truck Assembly in Iran, seen at head office, General Motors Overseas Corpo- 
ration (GMOC), New York. (2) General Motors Overseas Operations, The War Effort of 
the Overseas Division (1944). (3) Statistical Tables, Exhibits "A" and "C," filed at head 
office, GMOC, giving production figures for Andimeshk, 1942 and 1943, and Khorramshahr, 
1943. (4) Intervs with A. S. Clark, General Staff, Foreign Affairs, and Henry M. Halsted, 
Jr., Regional Dir, Far East, GMOC, 25 Oct 44; and with L. C. Meyer, Head of Boxing 
and Inspection Dept, GMOC, 28 Nov 47. (5) Pamphlet, Packing Slip Summary: Equip- 
ment for TUP Mobile Assembly Unit, prepared by General Motors Overseas Operations. 
(6) Pamphlet, Methods of Packing ... for Overseas Operations, prepared by General 
Motors Overseas Operations and submitted to QMG, 5 Feb 42. (7) File, General Motors: 
Confidential Correspondence, Miscellaneous General Motors Quartermaster Contracts, 
NYODF. (8) Ltr, Bruce Harmon to author, 6 Jan 50. 

a (1) The contract was DA-W-398-QM-250, which became W-613-ORD-2930, for 
a fixed fee of $2,500 per month. 160 Genl Motors Overseas Corp Contract, SL 8982. 

(2) General shift authorized by WD Cir 245, 25 Jul 42. (3) Report on Overseas Assembly 
Plants, by Minna Grossman, 25 Jul 45. Hist Sec, OCofOrd. 

* Request for American vehicles for UKCC submitted to Gen Wheeler by CinC, India, 
23 Oct 41. Iran 5/13, NADEF. 


to carry the expanded load of vehicles called for by the First (Moscow) 
Protocol. In addition to assembly operations, the British moved com- 
pleted trucks, with and without cargo, in early 1942, over three highway 
routes to the Soviet delivery point at Tabriz. 

When Generals Wavell and Wheeler discussed American aid proj- 
ects at New Delhi in November 1941, they agreed on establishment 
of American truck assembly plants at Karachi and at the head of the 
Persian Gulf, but they did not agree on the allocation of assembled 
vehicles as between the British and the Russians or upon the routes over 
which assembled trucks would be delivered. The extent of the Ameri- 
can task and the sites of its plants required further exploration. Wheeler 
submitted two proposals to the War Department: that a small TUP 
plant be installed somewhere in the Persian Gulf area, and that a plant 
big enough to serve the entire Middle East be installed at Karachi. It 
was at this time that large ordnance plans for Karachi were being 
hatched. The War Department, which had earlier hesitated to accept 
a British suggestion to create large American installations in India, 
forthwith made the counterproposal that it would be more efficient to 
enlarge the existent General Motors plant at Bombay, capable already 
of delivering 4,000 vehicles a month, and that a Beta Pack assembly 
plant now en route for Karachi could then be diverted to Basra. Gen- 
eral Wheeler, however, adhered to his recommendation of Karachi, 
because of the advantages of shortened communications, port facilities, 
elimination of the transshipment Bombay would require, and better 
climatic conditions. In November Folspen, the American engineer con- 
structor, was directed to erect an assembly plant in the Ahwaz- 
Andimeshk region. 

In the course of three-cornered conversations held in December in 
Tehran among the Russians, the Tenth Army, and Wheeler, it de- 
veloped that the Russians were strongly opposed to Karachi as an 
assembly point for their vehicles. They pointed out the difficulties of 
delivering trucks overland from there up the east Iranian border to 
Meshed and thence into the USSR. They preferred that major motor 
vehicle deliveries be effected not via the Persian Gulf but via the north- 
ern Russian ports, more accessible to the battle lines of Europe. Russian 
needs via the Persian Gulf were therefore estimated at only 2,000 ve- 
hicles per month, a figure confirmed to Wheeler by Washington after 
conferences there among Generals Sidney Spalding and Moore and 
British Army representatives. 6 The Russians therefore were pleased 

B (l) Msg ARMINDIA Q (Ops) VVY/802/Q, GHQ, India, to War Office, Iraq, 
14 Jan 42. NA 2051 (Iran DO-1), NADEF. (2) Rad AMSIR 10, 21 Jan 42. MID 
400.3295 1-21-42 (1-6-42). 


when Wheeler's decision to locate a Beta Pack assembly plant at Andi- 
meshk was approved on 8 January 1942 by the Commander-in-Chief, 
India. Also pleased was the British director of transportation for Iran, 
because of Andimeshk's accessibility to the Iranian State Railway. The 
selection of Andimeshk was opposed by Kenneth Harker, representa- 
tive of UKCC, and by a General Motors representative, who wrote of 
the site : 

Never were the factors of climate and human comfort more completely sub- 
ordinated to military expediency. . . . The area is infested with malaria, sand 
fly fever, typhoid, and dysentery. The water supply runs through open ditches, 
and powdery clouds of dust are a constant plague to men and machines alike. 6 

In February General Wheeler advised Washington that General 
Motors should operate two TUP plants at Andimeshk to assemble 2,000 
motor vehicles per month for the Russians; an assembly plant at Umm 
Qasr for 3,000 vehicles monthly for the British in Iran and Iraq; a 
plant at Karachi to assemble a similar number for delivery to the 
British; a service and repair station at Andimeshk to handle main- 
tenance of 300 vehicles a month for the British Army and UKCC; a 
checkup station at Tehran for final check on trucks delivered there to 
the Russians before Andimeshk assembly was put into operation; a 
checkup station at Kazvin for final check on trucks delivered there to 
the Russians after being driven by Russian drivers from the assembly 
lines at Andimeshk; and body-building and engine-reconditioning 
plants at Umm Qasr and Karachi. 7 It was not long before this extensive 
program was whittled down, first, by the reduction of Karachi opera- 
tions stemming from the reduced ordnance program; second, by the 
virtual American withdrawal from Iraq; and third, by the shift in 
American priorities from British to Russian aid. The Wheeler recom- 
mendation had proposed 6,000 monthly assemblies by American plants 
for British delivery and 2,000 for Soviet delivery. By the end of April 
1942 it was reported that the Andimeshk plant was designed to process 
2,000 trucks monthly for the Russians and 1,000 for the British. In 
actual practice, after work began at Andimeshk, its production was 
devoted almost entirely to vehicles for the USSR. 8 

The contract with General Motors provided that the company 
would be responsible for personnel, engineering and equipment speci- 
fications, procurement of equipment and tools, and management and 

•The War Effort cited n. 2(2). 

'Rad AMSIR BAG 12, Gen Wheeler to Gen Moore, 14 Feb 42. Folder, MT Repair— 
Umm Qasr, SLX-1 1,737. 

"Col Shingler, Rpt to American Aid Subcommittee, Cairo, sub: Status of Projects as of 
April 30, 1942. 334.8 American Aid Subcommittee, SL 9011. 


operation of plants; and that the Army would be responsible for 
priorities, shipment of plant equipment and truck material, construc- 
tion of plant buildings, living quarters, and railway sidings, and the 
delivery of truck material for assembly at the site of the work. Certain 
of these U.S. Army responsibilities were assumed by the British, 
especially construction (housing, roads, utilities) and moving the boxed 
vehicles from shipside to Andimeshk. The British assumed all costs of 
installing equipment at the plant and agreed to make certain local ar- 
rangements concerned with labor, power, and water, as well as to 
provide all fuels and lubricants used for assembled trucks destined for 
the USSR. This last arrangement was interpreted by the Americans as 
requiring the British to replace oils and greases used at the checkup 
stations where vehicles were handed over to the Russians if the Russians 
refused to do so. 9 The British commenced construction at Andimeshk in 
February upon a concrete foundation laid by Folspen. Superstructure 
was then erected by the British under a subcontract from the American 
Army. Plans and supervision were furnished by General Motors. 
Neither of the two Beta Pack plants to be installed in the Andimeshk 
buildings when completed was as yet available. One was en route from 
the United States to Karachi; the other, borrowed by General Wheeler 
from the British base at Port Sudan, was scheduled to reach Andimeshk 
in late March, thus determining the earliest date at which Andimeshk 
assembly operations could start. The Americans undertook to furnish 
2,000 vehicles per month, to deliver the two plants complete with cranes 
and tools, and to assemble and hand over the vehicles to Russian drivers 
at the point of assembly. 

The last-named point, the means by which assembled trucks were 
to be driven from Andimeshk to Soviet receiving points in the north, 
went against local British policy. The Russians insisted upon driving the 
trucks north themselves, and the Americans proposed keeping at Andi- 
meshk a rotating group of about 450 Soviet personnel for this purpose. 
A British report to the War Office in January noted the Russian de- 
mand and added, "Shortage of drivers . . . may make this desirable 
provided political factor permits." 10 Just as they had opposed the quar- 
tering of Soviet military personnel near the Abadan aircraft assembly 
plant, so the British regarded the presence of numerous Russians at 
Andimeshk and at checkup stations and traffic posts along the delivery 
routes as undesirable infiltration of the British zone of Iran. The prob- 

•Memo 206/77/Q-l and 206/15/77/Q-l, Hq, Tenth Army, 12 Feb 42, sub: Develop- 
ment of American Installations at Andimeshk. .004.04 AIOC, SL 8976. 
10 Msg cited n. 5(1). 


lem was settled at Andimeshk by yielding to the Soviet-American 
wishes ; but it was to arise again elsewhere. 11 

While construction at Andimeshk proceeded and the TUP plants 
were being waited for, a January message from Washington that 2,484 
trucks for the USSR were at sea heading for the Persian Gulf made 
it necessary to plan for their assembly elsewhere than at Andimeshk. 12 
It was decided to take advantage of the UKCC assembly plant at 
Bushire. The Iranian Mission entered into a contract whereby UKCC 
technicians and native laborers were to operate under the nominal di- 
rection of a single American officer. It was arranged that the assembled 
trucks were to be driven to Tehran by Iranian native drivers. At Tehran 
after rigorous inspection at a service and repair station run by a private 
local concern, also under contract to the Iranian Mission, the vehicles, 
if acceptable to the Russians, were to be transferred to Soviet control. 
Still driven by their UKCC-hired native drivers, they were to proceed 
to Tabriz for physical surrender to the Soviet authorities. The distance 
from Bushire to Tabriz was 1,179 miles over the worst of roads through 
hazardous desert and mountain country alive with armed bandits. To 
the damage inflicted by the execrable driving of the Persian drivers 
would be added the toll taken by the terrain and losses from pilferage 
or hostile attack. The Tehran contractor therefore would have his 
hands full before the Russians took over the trucks. 

Problems and Performance 

Between 2 February, when the first shipment of cased trucks 
reached Bushire, and 18 March, when the temporary arrangement with 
the UKCC ceased, 1,263 trucks destined for the USSR were assembled 
at Bushire under contract with the Iranian Mission. 13 The arrangement 
was only a stopgap one; but it relieved the pressure of accumulating 
unassembled trucks for Russia. The cost was high: a bill of $275,000 
from UKCC for assembly and delivery overland to Tabriz, plus all costs 
for repair and servicing at the private contractor's establishment at 
Tehran. When the bad news reached Washington, an admonition went 
forth to Colonel Shingler to persuade the British to reimburse UKCC 
and collect from the Russians. This suggestion failed to observe three 

13 Folder, MT Assembly — Details of Transport, passim, SL X-l 1,737. 

"Rad cited n. 5(2). 

" (1) Ltr, Col Shingler to CG, SOS, 10 Apr 42, sub: Status of U.S. Mil Iranian Mission. 
PGF 70. (2) Ltr, Col Shingler to Dir, Intn Div, SOS, Washington, 3 Jul 42 (cited here- 
after as Shingler Ltr), says Bushire work began 3 Feb 42. AG 400.3295 Russia, Hq AMET. 
Another copy .004.04 Beta Pack Assembly Plants, SL 8976. 


realities : First, UKCC, a wholly state -subsidized entity, enjoyed two 
personalities — one as an official body, the other as a business enterprise, 
making it unlikely that the British Government would reimburse 
UKCC. Second, UKCC was under a contract to the American mission, 
which, however it may have been entered into, had to be honored. 
Third, the Russians were even then difficult to collect from. The bill 
stood at $275,000, and, although this sum was not so bad as the $600,- 
000 erroneously reported as a fact in a later Federal Bureau of Investi- 
gation report, it was enough to exhaust the Quartermaster's allotment 
for 1942-43 of a quarter of a million dollars for assembling Soviet 
trucks. There are no comparable cost figures for later American truck 
assembly as the figures recorded for the Army-operated plant at Khor- 
ramshahr for February 1944 (about $28 per truck) and for February 
1945 (about $17) represent chiefly payroll costs exclusive of U.S. 
military wages. But even if these partial figures were doubled, tripled, 
or quadrupled, they would still fall far below the UKCC's charge of 
nearly $218 per truck which, to be sure, allowed for the 1,179-mile 
drive overland to Tabriz, with Uncle Sam paying for the checkup at 
Tehran en route. The UKCC bill for Bushire assembly was an intro- 
duction to the Middle East for the Iranian Mission. 14 

While work at Bushire was nearing completion the mission sent to 
Bombay for two General Motors specialists who were to get assembly 
operations at Andimeshk started in the open air as soon as the borrowed 
Beta Pack plant should arrive from Port Sudan and without waiting 
for completion of the plant buildings being erected by the British from 
General Motors plans and specifications. One aspect of the employ- 
ment of General Motors as a contractor was that a minimum number 
of their American technicians, most of them from their staff in India, 
could organize assembly operations using a maximum number of locally 
obtained foremen and laborers. On 14 March the two General Motors 
men arrived. On 26 March, just after the arrival of the Port Sudan 
plant, production at Andimeshk was actually under way. The rate, 
because the native workmen were green and the plant was exposed to 
sun and sand, was only about 25 vehicles a day. Colonel Shingler re- 
ported in early April the completion of 1 60 trucks and the accumulation 

14 (1) Memo for Intn Div, 2 May 42. Defense Aid Papers, Russia, Trucks, Drawer 3, 
Cabinet 67, Intn Div, ASF CCF. (2) Rads AMSIR WASH 146 and 147 to Col Shingler, 
2 May 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. (3) Rad AMSIR, from Basra, 30 Mar 42. Same 
file. (4) FBI Rpt, 27 Feb 44. MID 451.2, 24 Feb 44 (25 Jan 43). (5) Rad AMSIR 232, 
30 May 42. Filed as in (2). (6) Hist Rpt, Plants Br, Opns Div, Hq, PGC, 6 Mar 45, 
Incl 4, Table, Truck Assembly Time and Cost per Truck Produced at TAP II, Khorramshahr, 
Period from Jul 43 through 31 Jan 45. PGF 125-Z. (7) Hist Rpt, TAP II, for Feb 45, 
9 Mar 45. PGF 23-Z. 


of 850 cased vehicles awaiting assembly. By the end of April, 322 cargo 
trucks had been assembled. 15 

So pressing was the Soviet need for trucks that sixty mechanics were 
brought down from Tehran to speed the work. On 25 April the second 
TUP plant — which had been shipped to Karachi, later located on the 
docks at Bombay, and forwarded to Iran— reached Andimeshk and 
added its production capacity to that of the plant from Port Sudan. 
Throughout March and April cranes and tools were borrowed from 
the Army or obtained from India, while construction of the main build- 
ing, rail sidings, yard paving, living quarters, and utilities continued. 
On 6 May the still uncompleted main building was occupied, and in 
that month power-plant equipment borrowed from the Army was in- 
stalled. By the end of June, after three full months of work, 3,509 
assembled cargo trucks had been turned out and sent on their way to 
the USSR. 

When April shipping information indicated arrival at Persian Gulf 
ports by the end of May of 4,130 cased trucks for the USSR, it was 
obvious that facilities at Andimeshk, designed for the 2,000 trucks per 
month stipulated the previous December by the Russians, would be 
swamped. Once again the UKCC plant at Bushire seemed the solution; 
but Bushire, the UKCC, the Soviets, and the British had by this time 
become entangled in a series of mutual objections which might have 
resulted in a stalemate, war or no war, except for American interven- 
tion. Russian objections to the UKCC were founded on the experiences 
of February and March which encouraged the Russians to suspect the 
company of profiteering and attempting to obtain a transportation 
monopoly in Iran and which indicated the inefficiency of overland de- 
livery from Bushire to Tabriz via Tehran. In early February when the 
Russians announced their intention of sending a party to Bushire to 
reconnoiter the road, assist in traffic control of the convoys, and study 
the performance of the vehicles, the British, who did not want to see 
Russians operating so far south in Iran, objected. The American Min- 
ister at Tehran, Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr., treated with both sides and the 
Russians sent some drivers and armed guards to Bushire. Later, when 
Shingler proposed turning again to Bushire, the question was reopened 
and once again was settled through American good offices. To over- 
come the refusal of the Russian Ambassador at Tehran to accept any 
more trucks driven by UKCC drivers, the Americans proposed inspec- 
tion by Iranian Mission officers throughout the process of assembly and 

™ (1) Ltr cited n. I^ fn yivpg date of beginning work as 27 Mar 42. General Motors 
records say 26 Mar 42. (2) |Table8l 


delivery. With some compromising all round, it was arranged to as- 
semble several shiploads of Russian-bound trucks at Bushire. A member 
of General Greely's mission, then observing from Tehran, reported in 
April, "There seems to be no difficulty in turning over trucks to the 
Russians at the point of assembly as it has worked out satisfactorily at 
Andimeshk." ie 

But there were difficulties, among them those arising from the 
necessarily increased American supervision of UKCG operations at 
Bushire. The single American officer was replaced in August by an 
officer and a small detachment of an ordnance medium automotive 
maintenance company. Even after the immediate emergency of April- 
May had passed, Bushire was continued as a supplementary assembly 
plant, since the rigors of the German submarine campaign had all but 
closed the north Russian ports and the flow of trucks via the Persian 
Gulf was expected to increase. 

American supervisory personnel remained at Bushire well over a 
year, introducing several innovations which increased production. In 
all, 6,628 vehicles were assembled there for the Russians in this 
Iranian-worked, British-operated, and American-supervised plant. 17 

At Andimeshk performance from the beginning of operations late 
in March produ ced an erra tic- looking cu rve on the chart throughout 
the rest of 1942. |(Tafr/g 9\ and \Chart 4J Appendixes A and B) After 
slowness natural to the beginning of a new project, June assemblies 
reached 2,241 units, leaving at the end of the month 566 unassembled 
vehicles. During that period, while concentrating on Soviet-bound 
vehicles, the Andimeshk plant assembled 115 Studebaker tank trucks 
consigned, by Soviet permission, to the British because they were needed 
to supply gasoline to truck convoys in the area. The early output was 
achieved with small numbers of personnel and inadequate plant equip- 
ment which, as late as the end of 1942, constituted only 35 percent of 
specifications. By the end of July the staff at Andimeshk numbered 2 
officers, 10 enlisted men, 10 General Motors executives, 150 skilled and 
semiskilled native workmen, and between 350 and 400 unskilled 
natives. The reduction in assemblies, precipitate after August, reflected 
a reduced flow of arrivals, not a diminished capacity to handle the 
work. To the end of June, Andimeshk assemblies of 3,509 units for the 
USSR contrasted with arrivals at Bushire of 2,268 units of which the 

" ( 1 ) Special Rpt to Home Office, by Col John B. Luscombe, QM Off, USSR Mission, 
atchd to Weekly Progress Rpt 10, 21 Apr 42. 319.1 USSR, Intn Div, ASF NGF. (2) Foldei 

| " Table 7H 


only available information merely indicates that nearly all had been 
delivered to the Russians. 18 

Whether because of the contrast between performance at the two 
plants or because of continuing Soviet hostility to UKGG assembly of 
Soviet-bound trucks at Bushire, Kenneth Harker of UKGG journeyed 
to Moscow and presented to General Faymonville a comprehensive and 
unfavorable estimate of American operations at Andimeshk and a 
request that he be sent to Washington to reveal the state of affairs at 
Andimeshk. The correspondence indicates that Harker's views were 
not shared by Grigori M. Polyansky, assistant commercial representa- 
tive attached to the USSR Embassy at Tehran. He stated Harker was 
off by 1 80 degrees and his ejaculation, "God protect us from Bushire as- 
sembly !" was forwarded by Faymonville to Shingler via the American 
Legation in Tehran. Harker did not go to Washington. Investigation 
revealed that the Soviets had accepted 95 percent of trucks assembled 
at Andimeshk and Bushire. The episode closed with a statement by 
Shingler to Faymonville that the British, Russians, and Americans en- 
joyed "most cordial" relations, that "in British-Soviet dealings this 
mission functions as go-between," and that "improvement in mutual 
understanding will continue." It is not possible to state how far the 
British and Russians would have gone along with Shingler's statement 
of the American role or with his optimism. They were not newcomers 
to Iran. 19 

Although new arrivals of crated vehicles were to fall off after June, 
the visit of Molotov to Washington preliminary to the signing of the 
Second Protocol raised the Persian Gulf quota of trucks for Russia by 
50 percent. On 3 June Harry Hopkins authorized General Burns to 
promise Molotov 3,000 American trucks per month. 20 Plans were there- 
fore developed for erection of a second TAP, also to be operated by 
General Motors. A site was selected at Khorramshahr about two miles 
from the docks and adjacent to the new railway branch line and the 
highway being built to Ahwaz. General Motors delivered plant and 
building blueprints to the U.S. Army on 20 July, and the British started 
construction early in August. Provision was made for housing 1 5 Gen- 
eral Motors and 7 U.S. Army executives, 48 skilled and 102 semiskilled 

"(1) Shingler Ltr. (2) For strength figures, Memo, by Defense Aid Dir, Iran-Iraq 
Serv Comd, 27 Jul 43. 323.61 Establishment of Military Districts, Binder 1, SL 9008. 

18 ( 1 ) Alternative explanations suggested by Col Shingler in Rad AMSIR 361 to Wash- 
ington, 17 Jun 42. 330.14 Criticisms and Complaints 1942, SL 9008. (2) Rad, Gen Faymon- 
ville to Col Shingler, copies for Gens Wheeler and Maxwell, 5 Jun 42. Same file. (3) Rad, 
Maj. John G. Ondrick, U.S. MA, Tehran, to Col Shingler, 17 Jun 42. Same file. (4) Rad 
S-309. Col Shingler to Amembassy, Moscow, for Faymonville, 28 June 42. Same file. 

20 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 576. 


laborers, 30 Soviet officers, 250 Soviet soldier-drivers, and 378 native 
unskilled workmen. The plant was scheduled for completion by 
30 September. 21 

Such was not to be the case, for construction delays ensued. Al- 
though the railway sidings were completed in October and the main 
building was under roof, employee housing was only just begun. More- 
over, only 60 percent of necessary TUP assembly equipment had ar- 
rived from the United States; but this fortunately included two new 
plants. One of these was sent to Andimeshk to replace the British plant 
borrowed from Port Sudan. The other was retained for use at Khor- 
ramshahr. In December, as the arrival of increased truck shipments 
from America grew imminent, General Motors expressed its concern 
over delays in construction at Khorramshahr. 22 In consequence the 
Iranian District engineer supplemented the British construction forces. 
Work was far enough advanced by 26 January 1943 for assembly to 
begin. Aided by sufficient arrivals of plant equipment by 30 June to 
bring plant to 89 percent of full requirements, production at Khor- 
ramshahr rose steadily. At Andimeshk, 97 percent of necessary plant 
equipment reached the site and was installed by the end of March 
1943, making it possible to handle the rising flow of incoming vehicles. 
In June Andimeshk assembled 4,066 vehicles, all for the USSR, while 
at Khorramshahr 3,116 vehicles, 459 of them for the U.S. Army, the 
rest for the USSR, rolled off the lines. The total, 7,182 vehicles, con- 
trasts with the 2,241 turned out at Andimeshk alone a year before. 23 

June marked the final month of TAP operation by the civilian con- 
tractor. Effective 1 July 1943 General Motors became the fourth (and 
last) of the civilian contractors employed on U.S. Army projects in 
the Persian Corridor to be terminated, as General Connolly's new or- 
ganization took over the TAP's and thus completed militarization of all 
projects. In exchanges which preceded the termination of the contract, 
General Motors had rejected a proposal that it carry on under some 
such scheme of divided responsibility as had been accepted by the engi- 
neer constructor, Folspen. In the company's view it could not separate 
operation and management responsibilities. It urged assignment of 
sufficient Army personnel before 30 June to provide time for training. 
The whole enterprise was growing and could not be handed over to 
untried management overnight. From the start a few Army personnel 

71 (1) Memo, 6 Sep 42. DE File C-3, Conferences, NADEF. (2) Ltr, General Motors 
Resident Deputy Regional Dir for Indian and Persian Gulf Areas to CG, PGSC, 14 Dec 42. 
DE File O-l, Operations, NADEF. 

"Tjj^cited „ 21 (2). 

a |Table 9l 


were at both Andimeshk and Khorramshahr, and in the summer of 
1942 a handful of military personnel and about 70 contractor employees 
were at the Tabriz-Tehran checkup stations. 24 

In August, when construction began on the new assembly plant at 
Khorramshahr, General Motors requested military personnel, to work 
at the site. Some 22 soldiers of the 3,474th Ordnance Medium Auto- 
motive Maintenance Company were put on the job and remained after 
January to work on the assembly lines. In April 1943 the contractor 
requested soldier assistance to speed unloading of cased vehicles at 
Khorramshahr. Two officers and 90 men of the 506th Ordnance 
Medium Automotive Maintenance Company were assigned. Up to ten 
days previous to the last day of the contract these were all the military 
at the two TAP's, when the company expressed to General Connolly 
its concern that "practically no military personnel" were available to 
take over the plants. 25 On 26 June, four days before termination, the 
3,467th Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Company 
reached Iran and was immediately assigned to Andimeshk. At about 
the same time the 3,455th Ordnance Medium Automotive Mainte- 
nance Company went to the TAP at Khorramshahr. The Army carried 
on from there. 26 

Mention has already been made of problems connected with deliv- 
ery of assembled vehicles and of stations established in the north for 
final checkup before physical surrender to the USSR. The process of 
delivery of assembled vehicles into Soviet hands began at the end of 
the assembly lines where both Soviet and American inspectors stood 
watch. After passing this first inspection, the trucks proceeded to park- 
ing areas to await drivers. They were then loaded with cargo and 
started north in convoys over the long overland highway route, stopping 
at road camps originally set up by the UKCC which were made avail- 
able to the convoys by the British. At the end of the journey the trucks 
again went through checkup, reconditioning, and inspection at north- 
em checkup stations run by the Americans, and were finally turned 
over to the USSR. At each stage of this process difficulties multiplied. 

In the first place, Russian inspection requirements were rigorous. 
In the words of Colonel Shingler, "Russian insistence upon perfection 
in each truck may be explained by the fact that the Soviet 'accepting' 
a truck is personally liable if any defect is found upon arrival in Russia. 
Endless time has been spent on inconsequential details. If uncorrected, 
however, the Soviets simply refuse to touch the vehicles in question. 

* (1) File cited n. 2(7) passim. (2) Memo cited n. 18 (2). 

* Rad, Sven Dithmer to Gen Connolly, 20 Jun 43. PGF 125. 
26 For transition see Ch. XIV below. 


U.S. personnel have, therefore, been instructed to comply with every 
reasonable Russian demand." 27 

Next, there was not always sufficient co-ordination of planning to 
move trucks which had passed inspection, a notable instance occurring 
when, for a period in June 1942, 1,000 trucks stood at Andimeshk 
awaiting drivers. The Soviet colony there totaled about seventy-five 
officers in permanent residence as inspectors, guards, and checkers, 
while as many as 150 soldier-drivers sometimes arrived at once. 28 Pilfer- 
age and damage to vehicles took place from time to time in the car 
parks, and a disastrous fire at Khorramshahr on 24 May 1943 destroyed 
some hundreds of vehicles awaiting assembly. 23 

The checkup stations were a vital link in the chain of delivery. First 
planned for was a station at Kazvin, but the Soviets requested its loca- 
tion at Tabriz, inside their zone, and 300 miles nearer the Soviet border. 
Before the Tabriz station was established, however, provision had to 
be made for the trucks being driven up from Bushire in early 1942. Ac- 
cordingly, the Iranian Mission, under advice from USSR representa- 
tives at Tehran, contracted for the services of a group of civilians 
employed by the Soviet Transportation Commission. This station pro- 
vided 1 ,000-mile lubrication, tightening, and minor repairs. 30 

Establishment and operation of a checkup station had been stipu- 
lated in the General Motors contract ; but as the two General Motors 
technicians sent to Tabriz to undertake the task were killed in a plane 
crash en route the Iranian Mission advertised for a local subcontractor. 
Colonel Shingler reported in July as follows : 

In negotiating informal contracts at Tehran and Tabriz the Soviets refused to 
permit our acceptance of the low bidder on the plea that the individuals were 
Nazis. Instead the Russians "required" employment of a particular Czech firm. 
It now develops the firm is headed by officials of the USSR Transportation Direc- 
torate and is a government subsidized concern. Even so, every nut and bolt required 
in servicing and repair operations is charged against the U.S. Mission. 31 

He added, "In conference with even the highest local officials of the 
Soviet Trade Commission, the thought is constantly expressed that the 
manufacturer must make good all damages, defects, or shortages, and 
the Soviets will contribute nothing to assist. This is applicable to trucks 
arriving at Tabriz after a 740-mile trip under a load with Russian 

21 Shingler Ltr. 

28 Ibid. 

"Rpt cited n. 14(4). The number given is 350 crated chassis units and 100 crated cabs 
burned in the open desert. Monthly Hist Rpt, Khorramshahr Port and Station, May 43, 
PGF 16-E, puts the total damaged or destroyed at about 250. 

20 Memo, Mente for Shingler, 31 Mar 42. AG 095 TJKCC, Hq PGC. 

" Shingler Ltr. 


The first contract was for 400 trucks to be serviced at about 25 U.S. 
cents each, the mission to supply oil, grease, and parts. At the signing 
of the second contract, the local firm raised its price to 67 cents. Against 
this increase the mission was helpless to produce cost figures in favor 
of the lower rate, for though it had reason to believe the labor cost per 
truck was about 22 cents, it had never placed a representative on the 
spot to check the company's costs or records. At the signing of the 
second contract the mission assigned an officer and four enlisted men 
to assist in operation. Colonel Shingler's report of this unhappy 
situation concludes : 

In spite of the obstinate Russian demands and the delicate relationships exist- 
ing between Soviet, British, and Persian interests, the Mission has thus far been 
able to maintain the most cordial relations. The cost and effort required to effect 
truck deliveries in spite of all handicaps appears warranted and the time appears 
inauspicious to carry on heated discussions over "responsibilities." 32 

At the expiration of the second contract, the Tabriz station was 
moved in August 1942 to Tehran and was placed under U.S. ordnance 
mechanics with the .aid of locally hired labor. In the following Febru- 
ary 1943, upon Soviet request, an American officer and twenty-five 
enlisted men removed the station to Tabriz, but after eleven days, once 
again at Soviet request, they returned to Tehran. 

Labor problems during the contractor period met with a variety 
of solutions. Over wage rates and working conditions at the UKCC 
plant at Bushire, the purely supervisory Americans exercised no control. 
They could only note the high degree of absenteeism which marked the 
working force in the early months of 1942 and an underlying spirit of 
hostility toward the Allied cause. As for wages, they noted that natives 
earned up to four U.S. cents per day while skilled mechanics on the 
assembly lines achieved up to a maximum of ten U.S. cents per day. 
American suggestions of bonus systems, both as incentive pay for in- 
creased production and as an amelioration of rates which in American 
eyes were uneconomic in the long run, proved difficult to bring to 
adoption. The British administration had with great thoroughness set 
up tables of wage scales, and American attempts to circumvent them, 
which were not infrequent, were invariably met by British protests that 
severe damage to the social structure of Iran would ensue from the pay- 
ment of exaggerated rates. Such complaints, entirely legitimate from 
the British point of view, came to a head at a joint Anglo-American 
meeting in the British labor office on 15 June 1942 at which time the 
Americans yielded to the British request that they discharge all natives 

u ibid. 


and artisans and rehire them through the British deputy assistant 
director of labor. This was what the Americans had undertaken 
originally to do, and the only point which can be raised in defense of 
their departure from the book was that increasing wages helped them 
get on with their urgent war tasks. After this agreement Colonel 
Shingler reported to Washington that wages were still a disturbing 
factor in a difficult labor pattern and that in his view they were too 
low. 33 

During 1942 the economy of Iran was affected by the stresses set 
up through the presence of British, Soviet, and American forces and 
their activities. Prices were inflated. Near-famine conditions obtained, 
in certain localities exaggerated by Soviet refusal to allow wheat from 
Azerbaijan to be brought to the south. In attempting under these con- 
ditions to attract labor vigorous enough to work, the Americans decided 
to supplement the fixed wage scales with food. A number of plans which 
enabled workmen to obtain tea, rice, and sugar succeeded one another, 
and in this respect American initiative obtained British support, as ex- 
pressed by Maj. Gen. A. R. Selby in midsummer when he said he "felt 
the two governments should take a hand in the food situation and feed 
the workmen on some reasonable basis." " A similarly helpful flexibility 
was demonstrated by the British in the case of a number of skilled native 
mechanics when the American-supervised checkup station was moved 
from Tabriz to Tehran in August 1942. It was found that the rates paid 
in Tabriz were higher than those allowed for Tehran; but the 
British authorities acceded to the American desire to pay the higher 
wages in order to retain the good workmen. The permission stipulated, 
however, that employees hired in future must come under the regular 
scales, thus automatically providing a source of possible friction be- 
tween groups of mechanics doing the same work on the same job but at 
different rates. 

Of the many adjustments required to keep things going smoothly, 
one deserves to be recorded, not for its intrinsic importance, but for its 
value as an illustration. Early in 1942 the Russians officially protested 
to Colonel Shingler that the UKCC was advertising for sale, at some- 
thing like one hundred dollars a thousand board feet, lumber derived 
from assembly operations. The Russians claimed that the lumber was 
salvaged from the packing cases in which trucks for the USSR were 
shipped. They further claimed that, since the cost of the trucks in- 
cluded the cost of packing, the lumber belonged to them and they 

M (1) Memo of 15 Jun 42 Mtg. DE File C-3, Conferences, NADEF. (2) Shingler Ltr. 
"* Quoted Rpt by Maj C. M. Hearn, Chief, Opns Sec, Iranian Engr Dist, to Iranian 
Dist Engr, 22 Aug 42. DE File R-2, Reports, NADEF. 


should at least control its disposition. In an effort to settle the matter 
it was eventually necessary for Shingler, accompanied by Minister 
Dreyfus, to call upon Soviet Ambassador Smirnov. The meeting, con- 
ducted in German, concluded in an arrangement whereby American 
agencies were allowed to take whatever materials were necessary to 
the accomplishment of the American mission, the British were allowed 
a certain percentage of material for their trouble in handling the sal- 
vage, and the Russians would be entitled to carry away such quantities 
as would not result in displacing available cargo normally carried in 
the trucks upon leaving the assembly plant. Later in the year — when 
the American command was hard pressed to meet construction dead- 
lines for installations to accommodate the expected arrival of the first 
movement of service troops and was forced to every sort of improvisa- 
tion — it was suggested that the agreement on packing-case lumber be 
reopened to provide for construction needs. Tentative conversations 
having shown that the Russians were prepared to refer the matter to 
their ambassador, Shingler advised that "we rock along under existing 
arrangements, taking only as much lumber as can be withdrawn 
amicably." Thus was avoided a renewal of the small tempest which 
drastic shortages, a trying climate, and the natural rivalries and amour- 
propre of Allies had brewed. 35 

The truck assembly program was among the earliest of the tasks 
undertaken by the American command in the Persian Corridor. Opera- 
tions began at Andimeshk even before the move from Iraq to Iran was 
completed. The contractor phase continued some eight months after 
the arrival of General Connolly in the field. During the period of Gen- 
eral Motors operation, 20,081 vehicles were assembled at Andimeshk, 
9,670 at Khorramshahr. 36 Of the total of 29,751 at the two plants, 
29,069 vehicles, or 98 percent, were for the USSR. On 1 July 1943 the 
Army threw its resources into the task of handling the greatly increased 
flow of vehicles that was to come during nearly two more years of work. 

M (l) Handwritten note, Col Shingler to Col Osborne, 14 Nov 42. DE File O-l, 
Operations, NADEF. (2) Notes supplied the a uthor by General Shingler, 16 May 1950. 
36 Army figures. For General Motors figures see Table 7 , n. b. 


Strengthening Iran 

On a day in May 1942 President Roosevelt sat in the White House 
with his Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, the Soviet Ambassador, 
Maxim Litvinov, the Soviet Foreign Minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, 
and Harry Hopkins. The First (Moscow) Protocol was about to expire, 
and this was one of several meetings which produced the Second 
(Washington) Protocol. Harry Hopkins has left notes of an incident 
overshadowed by the main business of the meeting but not without 

"The President had two or three memoranda on his desk which I had never 
heard of before, which were obviously given him by the Department of State, in 
which the Department was offering their good offices in alleged difficulties between 
the Russians and the Iranians on the one hand and the Russians and Turks on the 
other. I gathered Molotov was not much impressed. I at any rate so imagined and 
in front of the President he raised the point that they thought they knew a good 
deal more about their relations with Iran and Turkey than we did. I confess I 
did not see in what way our good offices were to be executed." 1 

It would be misleading to blow up this little picture to the propor- 
tions of a mural painting entitled Historic Turning Point in Irano- 
American Relations. It was no such thing; but it was a moment to 
remember, an example of that subtlety in diplomacy of which Roose- 
velt could show himself a master. What he was truly driving at, why 
Molotov bridled — these are questions anybody may answer in his fash- 
ion. Interpretation of the scene starts with a concrete fact, known to 
the men there present. On 10 March Iran had been declared eligible 
for lend-lease aid. The three Americans at the White House knew that 
action to implement that declaration was currently being formulated; 
the two Russians, even if not specifically informed, were certainly aware 
that this must be the case. But none of this was mentioned or alluded to. 
Instead, in the midst of discussion of ponderables like munitions for the 
USSR, the President casually revealed the memoranda on his desk 
offering American good offices in alleged difficulties between the Rus- 

1 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 559. 


sians and the Iranians. This delicate hint, this calculated irrelevancy, 
in the context of lend-lease for Russia, may well have been Roosevelt's 
way of putting his guests on notice that the welfare of Iran was of inter- 
est to the United States. Not the memoranda on the desk, but the major 
unspoken fact of lend-lease for Iran, gave substance to the President's 
casual gesture. Without words, the gesture could have meant that from 
now on American good offices would be expressed by deeds, not words ; 
that Iran was to be helped to help itself. Molotov's acerbity would sug- 
gest that he got the point. 

Before World War II 

The situation in which Iran found itself in 1942, with foreign troops 
within its borders, had occurred before, and the United States had 
helped before. But in 1942 the Anglo-Soviet occupation and the condi- 
tions in effect by virtue of the Tri-Partite Treaty provided a more fa- 
vorable milieu than previously for an American effort to help Iran help 
itself. Although American attempts to provide some sort of balance 
wheel in Iran date only from 1911, and therefore form the shortest 
chapter of the long book of Iran's relations with the West, they fur- 
nished a background of experience in problems still very much alive in 
1942. Roosevelt was not initiating new policy when he indicated that 
day at the White House his interest in Iran's survival as an independent 
state. American aid to Iran in World War II established no new 
precedent ; but because of the special circumstances arising out of the 
war, it was more effective than before. 

The first gesture of American aid to Iran was not an official act of 
the American Government. It occurred when the American economist, 
W. Morgan Shuster, arrived in Iran late in 1911 to accept an invita- 
tion, delivered through the United States Government, to reorganize 
Iranian finances. 2 Shuster set to work on the assumption that as an 
employee of the government of Iran he was responsible to it alone ; but 
he reckoned without the views of czarist Russia and imperial Britain. 
These nations, by the Convention of 1907, had virtually partitioned 
Iran into Russian and British spheres. Their watchful concern to pre- 
serve these precluded any effective development of the country as a 
whole. This strengthened the centrifugal forces which traditionally 
enabled tribal and provincial elements in Iran to defy authority at the 
capital, and tended to drain strength away from the national govern- 

5 The following account of the American civilian missions derives from George V. Allen, 
"American Advisers in Persia," Department of State Bulletin, XI (23 Jul 44) 88-93; and 
Lenczowski, Russia and the West in Iran, pp. 263—73. 


ment. Shuster believed that possession and control by the central gov- 
ernment of a strong and incorruptible rural police force or gendarmerie 
would further the maintenance of order, the collection of taxes, and 
the equitable distribution of the grain harvests. As a prerequisite to a 
governmental financial house cleaning, he proposed establishment of a 
gendarmerie free to operate throughout Iran, regardless of British or 
Russian spheres. To head and train it he nominated a British officer of 
long experience in the country and ready familiarity with its language 
and customs. But this strengthening of central authority in Iran was not, 
in 1911-12, congenial to either British or Russian policy. Sir Edward 
Grey, Foreign Minister, opposed in the House of Commons the prin- 
ciple of permitting an English officer to operate in the Russian zone as 
setting an uncomfortable precedent for the British zone. At Tehran the 
Russian Ambassador confronted the Iranian Government with a de- 
mand that it expel Shuster within forty-eight hours. Czarist troops 
crossed over into northern Iran and a regiment of Cossacks appeared 
at Tehran. Shuster departed. 3 

In World War I, Iranian neutrality was violated when British, Rus- 
sian, and Turkish troops fought on Iranian soil. At the end of hostilities 
the British remained in the north as well as the south, while Bolshevik 
forces occupied positions in the northern provinces. During the early 
months of 1 9 1 9, Lord Curzon, overwhelming opposition from many ele- 
ments of English opinion, carried to an advanced state negotiations 
with the Iranian Government for an Anglo-Persian treaty. Under its 
terms a loan of two million pounds sterling at 7 percent, secured by 
customs receipts, was to be used for public works, including construc- 
tion of a railway in which there would be a large British interest. Ad- 
ministrative reforms under British guidance, with appropriate powers 
and controls, completed a program which aroused strong opposition in 
Iran because of its one-sidedness. Its supporters were those who had 
negotiated the treaty and those who stood to benefit from the expendi- 
tures on public improvements. Those in opposition, troubled alike by 
the treaty and the occupation of their land by foreign troops, en- 
deavored to obtain through President Wilson a hearing for their cause 
at Versailles. 

This effort having proved vain, the new Soviet Government in 
June 1919 capitalized upon the resultant disillusionment with the West 
by making known through its representative at Tehran its willingness 
to conclude a treaty of friendship with Iran on highly favorable terms, 

' Shuster's eight months' effort and his views upon the situation are preserved in his book, 
The Strangling of Persia (New York: Century Company, 1912). 


including cancellation of debts and renunciation of valuable Russian 
concessions. The offer was not publicized by the Iranian Government 
and on 9 August the Anglo-Persian treaty was signed. Newspapers 
favorable to the government which had negotiated the treaty made 
much of Iran's being deceived in its reliance upon the Wilsonian prin- 
ciple of self-determination, and the Iranian Prime Minister in a public 
statement asserted that the United States had refused aid to Iran. 

Thereupon, in a message of 4 September, Secretary of State Lansing 
authorized the American Minister at Tehran, John L. Caldwell, to 

"Deny to both Persian officials and anyone else interested that America has 
refused aid to Persia, You may also inform them that the United States has often 
showed its interest in the welfare of Persia and that the American Commission in 
Paris endeavored earnestly, several times, to secure an audience at the Peace Con- 
ference for the Persian Commission, but the American Commission was surprised 
that it did not receive more support in this matter. However, the announcement 
of the recent Anglo-Persian treaty probably explains why such a hearing could not 
be obtained and it also appears that the Persian Government at Tehran did not 
give strong support to the efforts of the Commission. The American Government 
learned of the recent Anglo-Persian Agreement with surprise, for it seems to 
indicate that Persia does not desire American cooperation and aid in the future, 
even though the Persian delegates in Paris strongly and openly sought American 
support." * 

Caldwell vainly sought to obtain publication of the American 
denial in Tehran newspapers. He then resorted to the unconventional 
device of printing it in leaflets which were circulated on the streets and 
in the bazaars. The truth thus made known heartened the opponents 
of the Anglo-Persian agreement and assisted its rejection by the Majlis 
early in 1 92 1 . With the collapse of Lord Curzon's treaty came the with- 
drawal from Iran of the British advisory mission headed by Armitage- 
Smith and James M. Balfour whose business it had been, under the 
treaty's terms, to diagnose administrative deficiencies and suggest cures. 
The setback to British influence was accompanied by the signature at 
Moscow on 26 February 1921 of a Soviet-Iranian treaty incorporating 
terms offered the Iranians in 1919 and granting the USSR the right 
of armed intervention in Iran in the event that a third power should 
attempt to use Iran as a base for military action against the USSR. 
One hundred days later Col. Reza Khan, Minister of War and coming 
strong man of Iran, forced the resignation of the Prime Minister and a 

4 (1) From The Pageant of Persia, pp. 340-41, by Henry Filmer, copyright 1936, used by 
special permission of the publishers, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., Indianapolis. (2) See 
also J. M. Balfour, Recent Happenings in Persia (Edinburgh and London; William Black- 
wood & Sons, Ltd., 1922), pp. 123-25; Lenczowski, Russia and the West in Iran, p. 74; 
Ch. I, pp. 12-13, above; and R&A 1206, Conflicts and Agreements of Interest of the United 
Nations in the Near East, 10 Jan 44, Research and Analysis Br, Office of Strategic Services, 
p. 26. 


reorganization of the Iranian cabinet in which Reza Khan remained 
as War Minister. 

With a treaty of friendship with the USSR and with British in- 
fluence eclipsed, the new Iranian Government now sought technical 
advice and help in administrative reform from a quarter which would 
render it without demanding a quid pro quo. The choice fell upon the 
United States. By Iranian invitation Dr. Arthur C. Millspaugh, Eco- 
nomic Adviser to the Secretary of State, became Director General of 
Iranian Finances. With a small staff of assistants he served from 1922 
to 1927. 

During this period the Iranian Minister at Washington wrote the 
Secretary of State on 2 1 February 1924: 

". . . the Persian Government and people have always recognized the 
altruism and impartiality which distinguish the American Government and people. 
They particularly appreciate the concern of the United States for fair play, for 
the respect of the independence of the smaller nations and for the maintenance 
of the economic open door. 

"It was because of their implicit faith in the lofty ideals and trusted friendship 
of America that my Government, over a year ago, confided the reorganization of 
their finances to American advisers and have consistently courted the technical 
and financial cooperation of this country in the industrial and economic develop- 
ment of Persia." 5 

The confidence there expressed was reflected in the support which 
Millspaugh received, soon after his arrival, from Reza Khan. Shuster's 
plans were revived and a gendarmerie was organized to preserve in- 
ternal order, collect taxes, and suppress fraud and corruption, particu- 
larly in distribution of the harvests. But early enthusiasm languished, 
and as Reza rose in the government (he became Prime Minister in 
1923 and crowned himself Shah-in-Shah in 1926) his dictatorial 
methods and growing nationalistic spirit came into increasing conflict 
with a foreign mission which had been given extensive powers over 
domestic policies. Reza Shah Pahlevi was determined to devote what 
Millspaugh considered a disproportionate share of the national budget 
to support the Army. Over the resultant deadlock of opinion the two 
parted company and the Americans left for home in 1927. 

The immediate consequence of Millspaugh's departure was that 
Reza Shah Pahlevi turned to Germany to supply a growing roster of 
technical and administrative advisers. If the United States possessed 
through Millspaugh's mission the opportunity to supersede the in- 
fluence of other countries by means of its friendship, this opportunity 
passed with the influx of the Germans. On they came, first under the 

5 Allen's article cited n. 2. 


Weimar Republic, then under Hitler, advising in education, lending 
technical skill, building docks, roads, and parts of the railway, adorning 
the new station at Tehran with the swastika (symbol of Aryan 
brotherhood), lecturing, giving parties, organizing Boy Scouts, and 
generally spreading the Germanic gospel as Kaiser Wilhelm had done 
in the nineties, when he opened wide his arms to his brothers in the 
Arab lands and simultaneously revealed to the world his plans for the 
Berlin-to-Baghdad railway. By the time the British and Russians entered 
Iran in 1941 some two thousand Germans had to be run to ground and 
taken into charge or under observation. The departure of the first 
Millspaugh mission, then, poses one of those unanswerable historical 
conundrums: What would have happened if American interest, in 
spite of discouragements and difficulties, had been continuously 
maintained in Iran? ° 

Of the many problems left unsolved at Millspaugh's going, the 
Gendarmerie, denied adequate funds and subordinated in the favor of 
the Shah to the Army, was only one. The size of the Army was another. 
On the credit side must be reckoned the Iranian State Railway which 
proved such an Allied asset in World War II. It has been said that the 
financial strengthening of Iran achieved by Millspaugh made it pos- 
sible for the Shah to build the railroad. 7 

Inception of the American Advisory Missions 

In the fourteen years between the departure of the Millspaugh 
mission from Iran in 1927 and the arrival of Soviet and British troops 
upon Iranian soil in 1941, the general internal position of the country 
had fluctuated both politically and economically. The ISR and other 
ambitious public works stood as monuments to the driving will of Reza 
Shah. But such representative democratic institutions as existed were 
sadly weakened by the long dictatorship; a little band of large land- 
owners vied for court favor ; the tribes remained active ; while the peo- 
ple of Iran, modernized by royal decree to the extent of wearing Euro- 
pean clothing, continued in the ancient ways of poverty and disease. 
The Anglo-Soviet occupation not only threw out Reza Shah, but per- 
force, for the duration of the war, detached from what there was of cen- 
tral authority in Iran most of the usual prerogatives of national sover- 
eignty. Iran was sorely in need of two things : the will to help itself by 
rigorous self- discipline and internal reform; and the willingness to fol- 

* For German penetration to 1941 see Lenczowski, Russia and the West in Iran, pp. 
151-52, 160-62. 

* Allen's article cited n. 2. 


low the disinterested advice of a friend. So once again the United 
States, already present as Britain's helper in the Persian Corridor, was 
appealed to. The ISR had become an official lend-lease project almost 
six months before Iran itself was declared eligible for lend-lease aid in 
March 1942. When that declaration came, the new government of Iran 
was ready to direct American attention to pressing Iranian needs. As 
American policy toward Iran, still groping in the dark in 1942, grad- 
ually clarified, it was recognized that many kinds of aid, whether 
rendered under lend-lease or otherwise, nevertheless, by strengthening 
Iran, fulfilled the purposes of lend-lease, which were to assist all who 
were banded together against the Axis. The development of trust- 
worthy security forces and the improvement of the economy of Iran 
were constructive ends, not only from this point of view, but also in rela- 
tion to the Middle East situation in general, where weakness was prone 
to attract predatory strength and where disorder and political uncer- 
tainty operated against any interest, including the American, that was 
arrayed against the Axis. American policy gradually formed itself 
about the discovery that Iran was everybody's interest because a weak 
Iran invited disorder which would involve all alike. 

Iran's request for help and American willingness to give it were, 
therefore, not the fruits of sentimentality or of after-dinner oratory. 
Wallace Murray expressed the American position as being based upon 
"our desire to bolster the somewhat shaky position of the present 
Iranian Government by providing it with concrete evidence of the 
willingness of the United States to provide all possible assistance." 8 
Within the generalization were the specific needs of Iran ( 1 ) to bolster 
its Army and Gendarmerie and (2) to obtain direct access to the 
fountainhead of lend-lease supply. 

In the first case, the Tri-Partite Treaty of alliance had limited the 
war assistance of the Iranian forces "to the maintenance of internal 
security on Iranian territory." This restriction effectively barred Iran 
from entering the war except as approved by Britain and the USSR. 9 
But it did permit the co-operation of Iran in the maintenance of law 
and order along the Allied supply line through the Corridor. It was 
therefore as much to the advantage of the occupying powers that Iran 
should perform this service as it was an advantage to Iran to possess 

8 Ltr, Wallace Murray, Adviser on Political Relations, Dept State, to Gen Eisenhower, 
OPD, 29 Apr 42. OPD 210.68 Iran 3. The letter records that the Foreign Office, London, 
approved the principle of "Anglo-United States co-operation in Persian questions." 

' Iran broke off relations with Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, and Romania on 16 September 
1941, after the occupation, but before the date of the treaty. It broke off relations with Vichy 
France on 5 February 1942; and declared war on Germany 9 September 1943 and on 
Japan 1 March 1945, retroactive one day. 


efficient military forces. In the second case, because the chief agency in 
rendering lend-lease aid for military uses was the United States War 
Department, acting, in early 1942, through the Iranian Mission, Iran 
required a military contact to supplement the usual diplomatic 

On 1 April 1942 the Assistant Secretary of State wrote the Secre- 
tary of War that Iran desired an American officer to serve as Intendant 
General and reorganize the finance and army supply divisions of the 
Iranian War Department. The Department of State, it was added, 
approved the proposal as offering an opportunity to improve relations 
with Iran and thereby to aid the cause of the United Nations in the 
Middle East. The Department of State felt that the United States was 
favorably situated to undertake the task suggested "because both Great 
Britain and the Soviet Union are handicapped in their relations with 
Iran by the inevitable dislike and distrust of the Iranians for the powers 
which are in occupation of their country." 10 This was the first of steps 
which were to produce, after some experimentation, an American mili- 
tary mission to advise the Iranian Army. In further correspondence, in 
which the Department of State inquired whether the War Department, 
on the invitation of Iran, would make available Col. H. Norman 
Schwarzkopf, graduate of West Point in 1917 and at one time head 
of the New Jersey State Police, "to take charge of the reorganization 
of the Iranian national police force." War Department willingness was 
pledged, thus opening the way to organization of a second American 
military mission, one to advise the Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie. 11 
The second category of Iranian requests, those for assistance in the 
economic field, came later in the year. Dizzy with the problems arising 
out of the Allied occupation, the new Iranian Government of Shah 
Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, having returned to constitutionalism, asked 
the Department of State to recommend Americans for administrative 
and advisory posts. As a result, Dr. Millspaugh, invited by Iran, re- 
turned there as Administrator General of Finances on 29 January 1943. 
He accepted the invitation only after the Majlis on 12 November 1942 
approved a contract embodying his conditions. By a further law of 
4 May 1943 the Majlis empowered Millspaugh to establish or work 
toward rigid governmental regulation of grain collection, prices, trans- 
port, and distribution; and to recommend enactment of a high, gradu- 
ated income tax to spread the tax burden more fairly and to combat 
inflation and other war-born evils. The Majlis also authorized employ- 

1D Ltr, Adolf A. Berle, Jr., to Henry L. Stimson, 1 Apr 42. AG 210.68 (4-1-42) (1). 
" Ltrs, Berle to Stimson, 8 Apr 42; Stimson to Berle, 16 Apr 42; Berle to Stimson, 
24 Apr 42. Abstracts PGF 261. 


ment of up to sixty American specialists and gave Millspaugh power 
to direct the government's entire financial program, to draw up the 
budget, to supervise the operations of the Finance Ministry, to control 
the inspection department, and to supervise the Americans and 
Iranians who represented the Ministry of Finance in the provincial 

The ramifications of Millspaugh's second economic mission to Iran 
extended to collection of the harvests and supplying bread for urban 
centers; control of the public domains and administration of the estates 
of the former Shah ceded to the government on his abdication ; stabili- 
zation of prices; and regulation of the purchase, distribution, and 
control of goods. In this area, the Road Transport Department con- 
trolled movement of all kinds of goods over Iranian highways and was 
at one time aided by some fifty British and American Army officers 
lent by their governments. Another office, the Transport Priorities 
Office, determined priorities for all civilian goods moved by road, rail, 
or water. All of these controls were necessarily subordinate to the 
over-all controls over movements and priorities exercised under the 
Tri-Partite Treaty by the occupying powers. 

Besides the members of the Millspaugh mission, who never exceeded 
thirty-five, other Americans served in various administrative and ad- 
visory capacities. One reorganized the police of Tehran and other cities. 
Another became in 1944 adviser to the Ministry of Public Health and 
attacked the increasing spread of typhus in the country. Still other ex- 
perts supervised the importation of pharmaceutical supplies, and ad- 
vised on soil erosion and irrigation, petroleum problems, and agricul- 
tural education. The account of their work lies beyond the limits of 
this volume. It is understandable that Millspaugh's mission, in view 
of its extensive powers and responsibilities, should eventually have run 
into trouble and, as in the earlier attempts by Shuster and Millspaugh 
himself, should have come prematurely to the end of its labors. Mills- 
paugh resigned in February 1945, and, with the exception of a few 
who remained until 1948 under direct personal contract to the Iranian 
Government, most of his staff were gone by autumn 1945. Their de- 
parture was unmourned by many Iranians. It would be difficult to say 
who learned the least by the experience, the Iranians or the Ameri- 
cans. 12 

11 Mohammed Reza Shah is directly quoted in an interview published in The New York 
Times, September 27, 1950, as saying, "The war completely disrupted our life. One of the 
worst of our experiences was Dr. Millspaugh, who has tremendous responsibility for our 
bankruptcy and lack of discipline, created by the occupation of our country." U.S. Am- 
bassador Allen's contrary view regarding bankruptcy was alluded to above, page 161. Mills- 
paugh's accounts of his missions are in his books, The American Task in Persia (New York: 


In 1942, within a month after the Department of State informed 
the War Department that Iran had requested appointment of an 
American officer to serve as Intendant General of the Iranian Army, 
the dissolution of the USSR Mission on 2 May offered the opportunity 
of appointing General Greely, its former chief, to the position. General 
Greely had been in Iraq and Iran since the previous January, had come 
to know men prominent in the Iranian Government and the British 
and Soviet forces, and was familiar with the lend-lease program. On 
10 April Somervell informed Greely that the Iranian Government de- 
sired a United States officer to take charge of the finance and army 
supply divisions of the Iranian War Ministry. But Greely notified Wash- 
ington that he was coming home and was told by The Adjutant General 
on 16 May to stand by for further assignment. That his name was under 
consideration for the Intendant Generalcy is indicated by a message 
of the same date to the State Department from U. S. Minister Dreyfus 
at Tehran concerning the appointment. "General Greely," it ran, "has 
conducted himself very well in Tehran. . . . However, before he is 
designated, it would, I feel, be well to establish that he has technical 
training, administrative ability, and energy required for this difficult 
and important position." 13 

When word of what was in the wind reached Greely a few days 
later, he promptly informed the War Department that, if ordered to 
remain in Iran to organize a mission to its Army, he proposed to assume 
command, as ranking American officer, of all U.S. military personnel 
and activities in Iran. As promptly came the reply that he would do no 
such thing. 14 The proposal, if accepted, would have combined under 
single authority the entire American effort in Iran — both the program 
of aid to Britain and the USSR, being conducted by Colonel Shingler 
as chief of the Iranian Mission, and the new program of strengthening 
Iran, still being approached by Washington in gingerly fashion. Wash- 
ington was not prepared at this time to unify these programs in one 
step. The American position in Iran, as a nonsignatory of the Tri- 
partite Treaty, and as an auxiliary of one of the occupying powers, 

Century Company, 1925) and Americans in Persia. See also Elgin Groseclose, Introduction 
to Iran (New York: Oxford University Press, 1947), pp. 181-84; and Millspaugh's letter 
to The New York Times, October 10, 1950. 

13 ( 1 ) Tab "A," Summary of the Record Relative to General Greely's Mission in Iran, 
atchd to Memo for CofS, signed Brig Gen St. Clair Streett, Actg ACof S, OPD, 1 7 Aug 42. 
OPD Exec 10, Item 56, OPD Hist Sec Coll, OCMH. (2) Rad, Greely to WD, 13 May 42. 
AG 210.31 (5-13-42) (14). (3) Rad, TAG to Greely, 16 May 42. Same file. (4) Rad 
162, Dreyfus to Hull, 16 May 42. Dept State 891.20/134. 

" ( 1 ) Rad AMSIR 2, Greely to WD, 20 May 42. Summary of Cables, Russian Mission 
File, OPD, Middle East, Abstract PGF 261. (2) Rad 17, WD to Greely, 22 May 42. Same 


made inadvisable the taking of large strides. Washington preferred to 
keep in step with its Allies. 

Secretary Stimson, therefore, having ascertained that the British 
approved appointment of an American officer as requested by Iran, 
wrote Secretary Hull on 20 May that without the consent of the Con- 
gress General Greely could not accept appointment to a foreign army, 
but that he might serve as an adviser. There was a further and more 
emphatic caveat from Dreyfus to Hull; but the War Department's de- 
cision was communicated to Greely in a series of messages. Greely was 
to become an advisory Intendant General to the Iranian Army ; he was 
not to accept emoluments or office from a foreign government; he 
would investigate and report to Washington as to how best to meet the 
wishes of Iran ; and he was to be guided by Minister Dreyfus who would 
be instructed by the Department of State. 15 

From the outset of the arrangement thus informally entered into, 
it was apparent that Greely's conception of his function was not in 
conformity with that of the State Department, whose political responsi- 
bility made its voice dominant. On two fundamental questions, the 
handling of lend-lease allocations to Iran and the direction to be taken 
by American foreign policy in Iran, Greely took positions which, no 
matter how well justified in his own view by future events, resulted in 
an impasse. 16 

In the matter of lend-lease, allocations for Iran were still under dis- 
cussion at Washington which reported that their determination would 
take some time. 17 Urgent as Iranian needs were, they had to be fitted 
into the program of aid to Britain and the USSR. Decisions as to how 
to strengthen Iran were, under the circumstances, primarily political 
decisions, and it was therefore a nice question as to how far General 
Greeley's function as adviser on army finance and supply entitled him 
to go in determining what Iran should receive. The American War 
Department implemented lend-lease policy, it did not make it. In 
Greely's view, however, his job was to get as much help as possible to 
Iran, although he acknowledged that the Iranian idea of his resources, 

"(1) Ltr, Stimson to Hull, 20 May 42. AG 210.68 (4-l-42)(l). (2) Rad 165, 
Dreyfus to Hull, 22 May 42. Dept State 891.20/138. (3) Memo, Greely for CofS, 7 Sep 42, 
sub: Rpt on Duty as Adviser, Iranian Army, 19 May-4 Sep 42 (cited hereafter as Greely 
Rpt). Case 45, Sec 1 OPD 210.684 Iran. (4) Rad, WD to Greely, 24 May 42. Cited 
Greely Rpt. (5) Rad AMRUS 19, TAG to Greely, 17 Jun 42. AG 210.684 (4-1-42). 
(6) Rad, Marshall to Greely, 23 Jun 42. AG 210.31 (5-13-42) (14) . 

"The basic documents on the Greely incumbency are: (1) Greely Rpt. (2) Memo, 
WD Summary, Maj Gen Thomas T. Handy, ACofS, OPD, for CofS, 1 Oct 42. Abstract 
PGF 261. (3) State Dept Summary by Wallace Murray, 3 Sep 42, inclosed in Ltr, Sumner 
Welles to Lt Gen Joseph T. McNarney, DCofS, 23 Sep 42. Dept State 891.20/175 PS/MEL. 

"Rad AMSIR 354, Somervell to Shingler, 8 Jul 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 4. 


gained from the equipment and manpower at his disposal while he was 
head of the USSR Mission, was exaggerated. 

This is a fine country [he wrote] with a virile people, and more could be done 
with it than MacArthur did with the Philippines, but it would be a long pull, and 
depend entirely on the course of the war. I know a lot of people from the Shah 
down, and they seem to like me. But it would be a mistake to detail me just as a 
gesture. They expect help rather than advice. They have had help from American 
missions and schools, and it would be a pity to spoil our reputation by giving them 
a Major General without anything to back him up. 18 

The Department of State had given instructions through Minister 
Dreyfus that in economic and political matters General Greely was to 
be guided by Dreyfus, remaining independent in technical military mat- 
ters. Under this division of responsibility, not, to be sure, very exactly 
defined, Greely felt that the minister was withholding from him infor- 
mation necessary to his function. He informed General Marshall to 
that effect, and told Dreyfus: 

Frankly ... in a total war I considered that everything was subordinate to 
the military effort. On this account I would take no direct action in either sphere 
which called for his supervision, but [would] merely advise the Iranian military 
authorities. I added that since he refused me his confidence I could not trust him to 
be of assistance to me in my work and that for this reason I intended to have as 
little as possible to do with him. 19 

The result was a kind of deadlock of which Greely's efforts to secure 
two hundred motor trucks for the Iranian Army is illustrative. As his 
report makes clear, that Army was woefully lacking in motor transport 
and forced to obtain trucks virtually at haphazard from the UKCC 
which held at the time almost a monopoly of usable vehicles. But 
Greely's cabled request to the War Department for the trucks turned 
up soon after on Dreyfus' desk at Tehran via a wire from the State 
Department asking Dreyfus' opinion of General Greely's request. 20 

Further steps taken in the field of supply moved the situation into 
the field of foreign policy and brought matters to a quick decision. In 
a message to General Marshall on 14 July, General Greely observed 
that the British and Russians were hamstringing Iranian communica- 
tions, and that, starting with a few trucks, Greely could reorganize the 
Iranian Army into an efficient force. 21 American supplies, then, were 
incidental to putting Iran into a position to enter the war as an active 

,s Ltr, Greely to Somervell, 30 May 42. Abstract PGF 261. 

"Greely Rpt, 20 and 27 Jun 42. Marshall replied on 27 June that Dreyfus was being 
instructed to inform Greely fully on all matters concerning him and that Greely was to do 
the same for Dreyfus. 

20 Greely Rpt, 2 and 10 Jul 42. 

11 Greely Rpt, 14 Jul 42. 


belligerent. 22 The message to Marshall, as Greely records in his report, 
had the approval of the Shah, who shortly afterward proposed to Gen- 
eral Greely that the United States invite the Iranian Minister of War, 
Gen. Amanollah Jahanbani, to Washington with a view to committing 
Iran as an ally. 23 At this point matters moved with rapidity, for the 
proposal, if acted upon, would involve the United States in a question 
already settled by the Tri-Partite Treaty. Greely was ordered on 26 
July to return to Washington to confer with the Chief of Staff. 24 But 
the next day Greely wired the War Department to take steps, through 
diplomatic channels, to invite the War Minister to Washington, add- 
ing, "Hurry because I leave within a week." 25 On 28 July Minister 
Dreyfus reported to the Secretary of State General Greely's effort to 
"commit the country as an ally," and added, "Greely's activities have 
now departed from realm of harmless interference and entered field of 
international politics." 28 Greely left Tehran for Cairo on 2 August and 
arrived at Washington on 1 1 August. 27 

General Greely's report ascribes the outcome of his efforts to the 
position taken by the Department of State in 1942 that American aid 
to Iran should be of a limited nature in that area of British responsi- 
bility. He prophesied that, unless American policy should change to 
greater responsibility for Iran as an ally, "any pretence of military 
assistance to Iran from the United States will remain only a futile 
gesture." Although for a time after 1943 the tide flowed toward the 
shore glimpsed by General Greely, his mission failed in 1942, not be- 
cause all of his ideas were wrong, but because he was not the agency 
for the formulation of policy. His impatience in the face of what ap- 
peared to him to be indecision and fence-walking in time of national 
emergency disregarded the principle of due consultation with, and 
specific approval by, those whose business it was to view the war in 
global perspective. What Greely proposed to do in 1942 was judged by 

" Ltr, Stimson to Welles, 1 Sep 42. Russian Mission File, Africa-Middle East Sec, OPD. 

13 Summary cited n. 16(3), citing Greely's authority. 

M Greely Rpt. Memo cited n. 16(2) says 24 July. 

M Rad, Greely to War Dept, 27 Jul 42. Dept State 891.20/164 PS/FPJ. 

"•Rad 243, Dreyfus to Hull, 28 Jul 42. Dept State 891.20/159 (Sec 1-2). 

* (1) Greely Rpt and Memo cited n. 16(2). Greely's report states that he was relieved 
of his assignment without further discussion. He was, however, considered by the War Depart- 
ment for return to Iran, as indicated by a memorandum of a conversation, 22 August, 
between the Messrs. Murray and John D. Jernegan of the Department of State and Brig. 
Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, in which the State Department expressed willingness, if the 
War Department found it impossible to send another officer in his place, to agree to Greely's 
return provided "He should be carefully and precisely instructed as to the limits of his 
functions." Dept State 891.20/168 PS/FP. (2) Greely's recall from Iran was discussed 
at the War Department as early as 14 July, when the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-l, sug- 
gested assigning Lt. Gen. George H. Brett as Commanding General, USAFIME, and sending 
General Maxwell to replace Greely. Memo, Col Douglas V. Johnson for Gen Handy, 14 
Jul 42. Russian Mission File, Africa-Middle East Sec, OPD. 


the policy-makers to be premature and impracticable under the 
co-operative conditions in existence in the Persian Corridor. Therefore, 
General Greely had to go, and events had to unroll more slowly. 

The Ridley and Schwarzkopf Appointments 

In the middle of August, Colonel Schwarzkopf, who had been men- 
tioned the previous spring as an adviser to the Iranian Government on 
the reorganization of the Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie, departed for 
Iran with Lt. Col. Philip T. Boone and Capt. William Preston. They 
arrived at Tehran on 29 August where they reported to Minister 
Dreyfus, under whose direction they were to serve as long as their rela- 
tion with the Iranian Government remained that of advisers. A bill was 
pending in Congress to authorize U.S. Army officers to act as officials 
of a foreign government whose defense was considered essential to the 
defense of the United States. Until that bill became law, Colonel 
Schwarzkopf and his staff were to remain under Dreyfus' direction 
rather than under the orders of the War Department. 28 

Meanwhile the relentless advance of Axis forces toward the critical 
Middle East objectives of Suez and the Caucasus passes leading to the 
Iraqi and Iranian oil fields urgently focused attention upon the need 
to step up all plans for strengthening the Allied hand in the Persian 
Corridor. The British surrender of Tobruk on 2 1 June with the loss of 
25,000 troops opened the way to Rommel's sweep toward Alexandria. 
When exhaustion of men and supplies stopped him soon afterward at 
El Alamein, he had taken toll of 80,000 British men and over a thousand 
British tanks. It was the lowest depth to which British fortunes sank in 
Egypt in that trying year. Along the Black Sea coast, after taking 
Sevastopol on 2 July and retaking Rostov on 25 July, the Germans on 
8 August occupied the Maikop oil fields and advanced to capture, on 
1 1 September, Novorossiysk, the seaport at the Black Sea anchor of the 
Caucasus range. To the north, massive German drives toward Stalin- 
grad began from two directions on 19 and 22 July. In August, then, 
with the great tests of El Alamein and Stalingrad ominously impend- 
ing, the Allied position in Iraq and Iran was anything but secure. It 
was necessary to plan for the worst at a time when there was slight hope 
of anything better. Hidden in the future was the British counteroffen- 
sive, which, beginning at El Alamein on 23 October, would turn back 

28 (1) Schwarzkopfs service dated officially from 7 August 1942. Memo, Secy War for 
President, 9 Jul 46. Abstract PGF 261. (2) Dept State VII-4-C, Iran — Foreign Advisers — 
U.S. Gendarmerie Mission, Div of Near Eastern Affairs. (3) Ltr, Berle to Dreyfus, 19 Aug 42. 
Abstract PGF 261. 


the Axis forever from Suez. Hidden also was the frightful carnage at 
Stalingrad which, commencing on 3 1 August, would leave the ruined 
city free of the last Nazi by 2 February 1943 and the Caucasus invasion 
of Iraq and Iran a set of abandoned plans on the desks of the German 
General Staff. 

In August the British informed Iran that, should the Germans 
reach Astrakhan on the Caspian delta of the Volga below Stalingrad, 
Tehran would probably be bombed. The Iranian Government, aware 
of the rising restlessness of the people, applied to the Allies to declare 
Tehran an open city. 29 In Washington conferees of the State and War 
Departments agreed to face the possibility that within three or four 
months, possibly less, a large part of the Middle East, specifically Iran, 
Iraq, and Palestine, would be under enemy occupation. It was further 
agreed that every effort should be made to save the Persian Corridor 
supply route, as an alternative to Murmansk and Archangel and as 
providing access to the Caucasus for military action and a base for air 
operations against the Balkans and German-occupied southern Russia. 
Moreover, it was agreed that the dispatch of American Army officers 
to advise the Iranian Army was desirable to frustrate the possibility of 
German political agents taking over Iran without a battle. 30 

How to carry on the commitment to the Iranian Army represented 
by the appointment of General Greely was the question. Iran indicated 
that a large mission of two or three hundred American officers would 
be welcome, and the British concurred. 31 Secretary Hull cabled Dreyfus 
at Tehran that the Department of State felt that an American military 
mission "would be most helpful in strengthening our position in Iran 
at the present time and in building a firm foundation for future rela- 
tions." The message pointed out that efficient American administration 
would exert a favorable influence and counteract pro-Axis feeling. 

It would also place us in a position to observe and control any movement within 
the [Iranian] Army tending toward its use as a fifth column in the event of 
threatened Axis invasion. We further feel that an American group in key positions 
in the Army would be of great assistance to the various American advisers, in 
particular to the financial mission [under Dr. Millspaugh]. 32 

"Iran's appeal was addressed to the British; Soviet and American military authorities 
were appealed to by Iran, but the United States refused to take a position, having no treaty 
ties with Iran. General Handy ruled that the War Department would follow the British 
lead on the question since Iran was within the British sphere of strategic operations. The 
Combined Chiefs of Staff were so informed. Dept State Memo of conversation between 
Jernegan and Col John E. Upston, Chief, Africa-Middle East Sec, OPD, 15 Aug 42. 
200.H 42 (IM-L-5) Iran-Iraq, Vol. I, OPD. 

"(1) Memo of conversation between Jernegan and Col Truman Smith, 13 Aug 42, 
referred to Gen Handy, Russian Mission File, Africa-Middle East Sec, OPD. (2) Memo, 
22 Aug 42, cited n. 27(1). 

"Memo cited n. 16(2). 

" Rad 220, Hull to Dreyfus, 18 Aug 42. Dept State 891.20/165. 


On 21 August the Department of State proposed to the War Depart- 
ment that it undertake a military mission to Iran with responsibilities 
greater than those assigned to General Greely, but less comprehensive 
than those which Greely had envisaged. To this proposal Secretary 
Stimson replied that the War Department was unwilling to undertake 
enlarged responsibilities toward the Iranian Army, but that it would 
continue to allow U. S. Army officers to advise in key positions. Stimson 
noted that General Greely's purpose to organize an Iranian army to 
fight with the Allies ran counter to the Anglo-Iranian-Soviet treaty 
which limited the use of Iran's forces to internal security functions. 
Reports showed, Stimson wrote, that the Iranian Army was too dis- 
organized to render effective service as a combat force even after 
resupply, reorganization, and long training. 33 

In accordance with this decision the War Department, conscious 
that its "future commitments in Iran will be based very largely on his 
[the appointee's] reports and recommendations," proceeded with 
great care in the selection of an officer for the advisory post. 34 The 
nomination went to Maj. Gen. Clarence S. Ridley, an engineer officer 
who had served ( 1936-1940 ) as Governor of the Panama Canal Zone, 
who had also headed the Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Commission, 
and who was at the time of his nomination in command of the 6th 
Motorized Division. The Letter of Instructions and a supplementary 
letter issued to General Ridley fixed two responsibilities : to investigate 
and report on the desirability of a large military mission, and to advise 
the Iranian Government on service of supply matters affecting its Army. 
"You will not, however," the letter cautioned, in view of what had gone 
before, "directly or by inference, commit the United States to any 
action whatsoever without specific authority from the War Depart- 
ment." The supplementary letter added that Ridley might advise the 
Iranian Government directly on supply matters, but that on questions 
relating to the use of the Iranian Army as a combat force, he must refer 
to the War Department. "Consult freely with Mr. Dreyfus, although 
it is understood that you will in no way be acting under his direction and 
control." Ridley was exempt from the command of the commanding 
generals of USAFIME and the Persian Gulf Service Command and 
he and Colonel Schwarzkopf were to be independent of one another. 35 

" Ltr cited n. 22. 

"Ltr, Stimson to Welles, 3 Sep 42. Dept State 891.20/175-1/2 PS/DAB. 

M (1) Ltr of Instructions, Gen Handy, ACofS, OPD, to Gen Ridley, 24 Sep 42; Ltr, 
Handy to Ridley, 7 Oct 42, sub: Interpretation of Instructions. Abstracts PGF 261. These 
letters, not rescinded when the Ridley mission later entered into contractual relationship 
with the Iranian Government, merely became inoperative. (2) Ltr, TAG to CG, USAFIME, 
7 Oct 42, sub: Transportation and Administrative Facilities. PGF 261. (3) A letter, 


After conferring at the State and War Departments and with Gen- 
eral Greely, Field Marshal Sir John Dill, and the Iranian Minister at 
Washington, General Ridley, accompanied by Col. Fernand G. Du- 
mont and Capt. Robert S. Conly, Jr., arrived in Iran on 30 October. 36 
In proceeding to carry out that part of his instructions which called 
for a report on the advisability of a large American training mission, 
Ridley soon encountered the political pitfalls and diplomatic difficulties 
with which the country abounded. The Prime Minister had taken over 
the portfolio of the Minister of War and appeared to be jockeying with 
the Shah for control of the Army. The post of Intendant General in- 
volved the giving of advice for the reorganization and administration 
of the Army's finance, quartermaster, engineer, sanitary, veterinary, 
recruiting, military justice, transport, and remount departments. But 
soon after Ridley's arrival the Shah expanded his views of what he 
wanted Ridley to do, and proposed that Ridley take over reorganiza- 
tion of the entire Army and accept the rank of lieutenant general as 
Aide to the Shah. The Minister of War countered with an alternative 
proposal that Ridley become Assistant Minister of War. 37 

Inasmuch as the United States Congress had recently enacted legis- 
lation authorizing the President to detail officers and enlisted men of 
the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps to assist such governments as the 
President "deems it in the interest of national defense to assist," during 
the period of war or a declared national emergency, there was no legal 
bar to acceptance of either proposal. 38 After reviewing the arguments 
for sending a large military mission, General Ridley recommended that 
he be allowed to accept the proposal of the Minister of War that he 
become Assistant War Minister, and he suggested that an American 
quartermaster colonel be given the post of Intendant General. 39 This 
recommendation was disapproved in the War Department in January 
1943. 40 It was felt that the direct responsibility which General Ridley 
would owe to the Iranian Government would involve the United States 
in the question of security of the Persian Corridor line of communica- 
tions, which was assigned by the Tri-Partite Treaty to the joint care 
of Iran, Great Britain, and the USSR. The question of sending a full- 
scale American military mission to reorganize the Iranian Army as a 

Welles to Dreyfus, undated, enclosing a copy of Ridley's Letter of Instructions, stated that 
Ridley was "not to be regarded as acting under your direction." Abstract PGF 261. 

" (1) Greely Rpt. (2) Memo cited n. 16(2). 

"Ltr, Ridley to Chief, OPD, 10 Dec 42. Mission Rpt File, Hq, U.S. Military Mission 
with the Iranian Army, War Office, Tehran. 

" Public Law 722, 1 Oct 42, amending 44 Stat 565, 19 May 26. 

* B Ltr cited n. 37. 

" OPD Memo, Jan 43. Case 53, Sec II, OPD 210.684 Iran. 


whole was finally answered in the negative the following October when 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff decided that the separate Ridley and Schwarz- 
kopf missions were sufficient." The program to strengthen Iran by 
supplying expert military and economic advice and administrative 
assistance continued, therefore, according to the basic pattern laid 
down in 1942. 42 

41 JCS 557, 30 Oct 43, sub: Mil Mission to Persia; and JCS 557/1, 2 Nov 43. Case 67, 
Sec II, OPD 210.684 Iran. 

" The account of the Army and Gendarmerie Missions is continued in Ch. XXI below. 




New Job, New Tools: The SOS 


The Midsummer Crisis, 1942 

The radical change in American responsibilities in the Persian 
Corridor which was decided upon in September 1942 was a change of 
method and pace, not of direction. The direction continued, as before, 
toward the objective of aiding the British in their efforts in the area, 
particularly their efforts to deliver supplies to the Soviet Union. But 
the old method of doing this — with the American task primarily in con- 
struction and in the operation of assembly plants, while the British, in 
addition to their other obligations, controlled and operated transport 
facilities — was superseded by the new American job. Henceforth, to 
speed the movement of supplies to the USSR, the primary American 
concern was to be in transport. 

Although the accelerating imbalance between tonnages arriving at 
Persian Gulf ports and tonnages carried inland to Soviet receiving 
points was a vital factor in determining the change of method and pace, 
the decision to change was not a local one. It was not even a purely 
War Department decision. By midsummer of 1942 three broad lines 
of policy and action in the conduct of the war intersected to mark a 
point of crisis. The solution proposed to meet that crisis, in so far as 
Persian Corridor operations were concerned, was the so-called SOS 
Plan, giving the United States greatly increased responsibilities in the 
aid-to-Russia program. Dictated first by the military situation in the 


Middle East, second by considerations of high policy toward the Soviet 
Union, and third by the crisis in Persian Corridor logistics, the decision 
was taken by the Combined Chiefs of Staff in accordance with prin- 
ciples agreed upon between the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 
and the President of the United States. In listing the three factors in 
the decision no precedence is implied, for they were closely interrelated 
and not distinct phenomena. The lines of the war, of which these were 
but three, crossed and recrossed, tangled and knotted. These three hap- 
pened to culminate in crisis at approximately the same time. 

One of the factors influencing the American decision that summer 
to strengthen Iran was the ominous military situation in the Middle 
East at midyear: the surge of Axis forces toward critical objectives, 
from the west through Egypt and from the north around the Black 
Sea. It had other repercussions upon Persian Corridor planning; for 
simultaneously with the prospect that Axis forces would overrun the 
area, seize the oil of Iraq and Iran, and cut off the Russian supply line, 
the success of Axis submarines and aircraft in the Arctic was reducing 
almost to impotence the effort to supply Russia by the Murmansk route. 
With both northern and southern supply routes threatened with extinc- 
tion, and with the threatened loss of the Middle East, the question of 
the degree to which Russian supply routes were to be defended became 
entangled with the question of military defense of the Middle East; 
and this had to be balanced against global policy. In the process, old 
plans and policies gave way to new. 

In January the Combined Chiefs of Staff accepted a tentative plan 
for an Allied invasion of northwest Africa known as Gymnast, but this 
plan was shelved in March. In April Operation Bolero was conceived 
for the assembly or build-up in England of American forces for an 
ultimate cross-Channel attack. During the spring General Marshall 
and Harry Hopkins had reached tentative agreement in London with 
the British on plans for Sledgehammer, a cross-Channel landing and 
diversion operation for 1942, and a full-scale cross-Channel operation 
for 1943, called Roundup. It was soon felt in the United States, how- 
ever, that the British preferred postponing an assault upon the Conti- 
nent until after 1942, and that they were interested in Gymnast, whose 
adoption would render difficult any adequate build-up for a cross- 
Channel attack timed for the spring of 1943. Prime Minister Churchill 
therefore went to Hyde Park late in June for discussions which moved 
on to the White House. There, on Sunday morning, 2 1 June, President 
Roosevelt handed Churchill a slip of paper bearing news of the fall of 
Tobruk. The crisis thus precipitated by the retreat of the British to 
Egypt and the expectation of a junction of Germans and Japanese in 


the Indian Ocean, strengthened Churchill's argument to postpone 
Channel plans in favor of Gymnast. Churchill having returned a 
few days later to London, Roosevelt went back to Hyde Park whence 
he dispatched a telegram on 30 June to General Marshall on the 
increasingly serious situation in the Middle East. Marshall's replies of 
30 June and 2 July were straightforwardly pessimistic. 1 

Axis success in Egypt and southern Russia was paralleled by the 
terrific losses inflicted by German submarines, surface craft, and air- 
craft upon Allied shipping on the perilous route to Murmansk. Thanks 
to the help the perpetual daylight in Arctic waters afforded Axis sea 
hunters during April, May, and June, of 522,000 tons which left United 
States ports, only 300,000 tons got through to Murmansk. From London 
on 1 3 July Averell Harriman, in a message to Hopkins, directly related 
the Murmansk sea toll to the need to step up shipments via the Persian 
Gulf route. He recommended that all planes and trucks beyond the 
capacity of the Alaska-Siberia route to the USSR be shipped to the 
Persian Gulf and that, to take care of this additional tonnage, the 
Iranian State Railway be operated by the United States. A memo- 
randum of two days later from General Marshall and Admiral Ernest 
J. King for Hopkins agreed that convoys to the Persian Gulf would 
suffer less damage than those to Murmansk and indicated that steps 
were being taken to increase the tonnage to the Gulf and to develop 
increased inland clearance capacity. At the same time Churchill gave 
Roosevelt his opinion that sinkings in the Atlantic in the preceding 
seven days were at a rate unexampled in this war or the last. On the 
Murmansk route twenty-two out of thirty-three ships in a recent convoy 
had been sunk. The next day the Prime Minister sent the President 
a copy of a cable which he proposed to send to Stalin, reviewing the 
difficulties besetting the north Russia route and suggesting the suspen- 
sion of further convoys during the rest of the summer. The President 
by cable of the same date (15 July) reluctantly approved the proposal 
and, connecting Murmansk and the Persian Gulf route, as Harriman 
had done, asked Churchill to consider whether American railroad 
men should run the line from the Gulf north to help take care of the 
new tonnage going to the Gulf instead of to Murmansk. Churchill's 
reaction was instantly favorable and he sent off to Harry Hopkins a 
draft acceptance of the railway proposal with certain important strings 
attached to it. Churchill's formal acceptance of the American offer 
followed after a month, as will appear later in the narrative. Whether 

1 See Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, Ch. XXV, and Winston S. Churchill, The Hinge 
of Fate (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950), p. 382. 


or not Hopkins discussed the Churchill draft with the President it is 
impossible to judge from available documents. 2 

At all events, by 15 July four questions of vital policy, each of which 
would affect future action in the Persian Corridor, demanded answers. 
First was the defense of the disintegrating military position in Egypt 
and the approaches to the Caucasus. Second was the virtual elimination 
of the Murmansk supply route to Russia. Third was the need to build 
up the Persian Gulf route as an alternative to Murmansk. And fourth, 
most important of all in its long-range implications, was the choice 
between continuing plans for a cross-Channel invasion in 1942 and 
reviving plans for an invasion of North Africa. Postponement of an 
assault upon the Continent of Europe, a second-front operation urgently 
desired by the Russians to offset German pressure on the Eastern Front, 
would, in conjunction with the drastic reduction of tonnages reaching 
the USSR via Murmansk, cause a most unfavorable impression among 
the Russians. Yet the situation in Egypt provided strong argument for 
an operation in Morocco and Algeria. The crux of the problem, then, 
was how to maintain a balance between the urgent needs of the British 
and of the Russians. 

At the White House on the night of 15 July, Roosevelt, who had 
decided to send Hopkins, Marshall, and King to London to arrange 
definitive strategy for the rest of the year, told Hopkins that at London 
a determined effort should be made to obtain agreement that, if 
Sledgehammer could not be mounted in 1942, then another theater 
must be chosen "where our ground and sea forces can operate against 
the German ground forces in 1942." 3 Two theaters suggested them- 
selves, North Africa and the Middle East, and in either one operations 
would entail a substantial reduction in Bolero, and consequent disap- 
pointment of Soviet hopes for an early invasion across the English 

The next day Hopkins, Marshall, and King left for London taking 
with them a detailed memorandum of Presidential instruction of which 
the eighth section dealt in nine subsections with the problems of the 

2 (1) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 544, 600. (2) Rad ALUSNA, London to 
OpNav, 13122 CCR, 887-A Limited, Harriman to Hopkins, 13 Jul 42. Russia File (s) 
WDCSA. (3) Memo, Marshall and King for Hopkins, 15 Jul 42. Same file. (4) MS Index 
to the Hopkins Papers, Vol. I, Bk. V, Aid to Russia, pp. 14-16, Item 62. (5) The Murmansk 
convoys were not wholly suspended. A September statement indicates their relation to Persian 
Gulf planning: "If our shipping losses continue at the present excessive rate along the 
Northern Russian route, it may become necessary to use the Persian Gulf route entirely." 
CCS 109/1, Rpt, CSP for CCS, approved 22 Sep 42, sub: Development of Persian Trans 
Facilities. 323.361 General Connolly's Letter of Instructions, SL 9008. (6) Page 16 of 
Item 62 cited in (4). The Index entry carries the erroneous date 18 June for 18 July. 

1 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 602. 


Middle East. Summarizing the "effect of losing the Middle East," the 
memorandum stated : 

"You will determine the best methods of holding the Middle East. These 
methods include definitely either or both of the following : 

"(a) Sending aid [air?] and ground forces to the Persian Gulf, to Syria and 
to Egypt. 

"(b) A new operation in Morocco and Algiers intended to drive in against the 
backdoor of Rommel's armies. . . ." 4 

The London talks, having moved toward the second of Roosevelt's pro- 
posed courses, took up Gymnast and prepared it for action. Renamed 
Torch at a meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff on 25 July, it was 
subsequently carried out in the North African landings the following 
November. 5 Roosevelt's approval in July of the revival of Gymnast 
was accompanied by his insistence that a European operation would 
not necessarily be postponed beyond 1943. 

His first proposal, to send troops to the Persian Gulf, Syria, and 
Egypt, met a different fate from his second. Sending troops was not 
a new proposal. On 25 March Roosevelt had asked the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff and the Secretary of War their views on the dispatch of Ameri- 
can combat troops to northwest Africa, Libya, and Syria, and had been 
informed by General Marshall on 2 April that it was believed American 
strength should be directed toward a cross-Channel assault and not 
toward the Mediterranean. 6 The July decision reversed that policy; 
but while it offered countermeasures of great potential effectiveness in 
the Mediterranean and Atlantic areas, it supplied no immediate solu- 
tion to the problem of relieving German pressure against the Soviet 
Union. As unpublished papers reveal, 7 during July and August Roose- 
velt explored the possibility of an American air force to operate with 
the Russians in the Caucasus. He was encouraged in his design by 
Churchill's word that Stalin had once said he would welcome such a 
force ; and Churchill, partly as a means of luring Turkey into the war 
on the Allied side, was eager to send Allied forces to the Soviet front. 
The Russians, however, refused the offer of air aid in the Caucasus, 
tentatively in August, then, as the battle of Stalingrad began, flatly in 
October. 8 

* Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 604—05. 

1 Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, p. 31 and n. 106. 

" Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, p. 15. 

'Sec: (1) MS Index to the Hopkins Papers, Vol. I, Bk. V, Aid to Russia, passim. 
(2) Prime Minister to President, Most Secret and Personal Msg 216, 2 Dec 42; and Msgs, 
Churchill to Roosevelt, Roosevelt to Churchill, and Roosevelt to Stalin, 30 Aug-9 Oct 42. 
OPD Exec 10, Item 63-a, OPD Hist Sec Coll, OCMH. 

"Research Draft MS, bv Edwin M. Snell, 2 Apr 48, sub: The USSR in the U.S.-British 
Plans and Operations in 1942, p. 34. OCMH. 


There was only one possible means left of directly strengthening 
the Soviet hand in 1 942, and that was to increase shipping to the Persian 
Gulf. This the Combined Chiefs of Staff authorized in August. New 
shipping priorities gave Russian-aid supplies going by way of the Per- 
sian Gulf the same general priorities as Torch, while Bolero and the 
Murmansk route dropped to lower positions in the scale. 9 

Ways and Means 

The rearrangement of shipping priorities marked a last step in the 
process of developing and promulgating the policy of increasing aid to 
Russia via the Persian Corridor. Still to come was planning, the equa- 
tion merging policy with performance. Up to the crisis of midsummer 
1942 there had been no dearth of planning, first, for the initiation of 
Corridor tasks, and second, for means to prevent the choking of the 
supply pipeline. In the first case, the critical operation entrusted to the 
Americans was construction of such installations as docks, warehouses, 
and highways. In the second, the most troublesome phenomenon of the 
year was the problem of inland clearance. Successful movement re- 
quired the provision of adequate ports, the establishment of efficient 
methods of ship discharge, cargo storage, and transfer to trucks and 
railway, the provision of overland highway routes, and the organization 
of trucking and railway services to carry the goods north as fast as they 
were landed. By midyear none of these goals had been attained. The 
threat of backlogs of Soviet-destined goods began to become an un- 
manageable reality. The new planning to take care of the increased 
load decreed by the July decisions therefore overtook and absorbed 
the improvisations by which the British and their American auxiliaries 
had been attempting hitherto to keep up with the job. 

The Harriman suggestion in July that American operation of the 
railway would improve inland clearance revived talk along that line 
which ran back as far as Lord Beaverbrook's proposal of November 
1941. In May 1942 General Somervell urged establishment of an 
American trucking organization as a means of ameliorating a worsen- 
ing transport situation. Concern over inefficient port operations de- 
veloped early in Washington and was not lessened by the January 
observations of William C. Bullitt, personal representative of the Presi- 
dent. Washington was unsparing in its pressure on the Iranian Mission 
to improve cargo handling at the ports, but it is difficult to see how 
Washington expected that mission, whose transport activities were 

' See P&P Records for August 1942. P&O, WDGS. 


advisory only, to bring about effective changes in methods. There is at 
least one early British suggestion that the Americans "control" the 
ports of Khorramshahr and Bandar Shahpur, and that, to bring about 
better co-ordination, there should be American representation on 
British movements control committees and on the War Transport 
Executive Committee which was responsible to London. Though some 
representation was subsequently arranged, the Americans had no 
power to act either through the committees upon which they sat or 
through their own military mission ; and the committees upon which 
they sat derived from sources of distinct authority as far apart as 
London and Basra. 10 

Although at midyear new British dock construction was behind 
schedule, theoretical port capacity at Basra had been considerably 
increased above prewar level ; but actual discharge there fell below the 
previous year's average. Nevertheless, Basra was at the time the most, 
active Persian Gulf port; but less than a quarter of its cargo discharge 
was destined for the USSR. The rest was for the British Tenth Army. 11 
In Washington, Harry Hopkins received analyses of the Basra problem 
and in May a suggestion from General Burns, formerly assistant to 
Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., of lend-lease and then executive officer of 
the Munitions Assignments Board, Combined Chiefs of Staff, that a 
three-man survey group tackle Persian Gulf problems in co-operation 
with the other nations concerned. In June Burns suggested to Hopkins 
that Burns'' assistant, General Sidney Spalding, head a group to go to 
Iraq and Iran to determine means of improving the situation. 12 Other 
suggestions sent in from the field sought to centralize authority and 
responsibility for port operations. One, from the War Shipping Admin- 
istration's agent at Basra, requested increased American authority over 
local port agents when unloading American ships. 13 Another, from 
the U.S. naval observer at Basra, noting that no agency was solely 
responsible for deliveries to the USSR, recommended establishment of 
an Anglo-American board at Basra to function in this capacity only, 
and suggested as a suitable head Bosworth Monck, a Basra representa- 
tive of the Ministry of War Transport, London, who had previously 

"(1) For early railway proposals see Ch. XVII below. (2) Rad 177, Somervell to 
AMSIR, 9 May 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 5. (3) See Memo, ACofS, WPD, in- 
corporating a draft cable to AMSIR, Gen Eisenhower to TAG, 28 Mar 42. AG 400.3295 
(8-9-41) Sec 4. (4) Rad Q/669, Gen Iraq [GOC, British forces in Iraq] to ARMINDIA, 
8 Jan 42. Shipping Data, SL X-l 1,737. 

11 HOTI, Pt. IV, History of the Ports, by Ogden C. Reed, pp. 1-2. PGF. 

" (1) Memo, John J. McCloy for Hopkins, 23 May 42, and Memo, Burns for Hopkins, 
26 May 42. MS Index to the Hopkins Papers, Vol. II, Bk. VII, Lend-Lease Aid to Russia 
(1942), p. 3, Item 24. (2) Memo, Burns for Hopkins, 18 Jun 42. Same entry, Item 26. 

" Rad, Eugene Seaholm to WSA, 30 Jun 42, repeated in and indorsed by Rad, Gen 
Spalding to WD, 30 Jul 42. Abstract PGF 236. 


developed the port of Murmansk and who was thoroughly familiar 
with Russian needs." 

Most of these suggestions aimed at tightening administrative con- 
trols in order to increase performance ; but there was the equally serious 
problem of the lag in construction. Without dock and highway facilities 
movement on a large scale was impossible. Both British and American 
dock construction at Basra, Bandar Shahpur, and Khorramshahr was 
far behind schedule at the middle of 1942, as was the American high- 
way between Khorramshahr and Andimeshk. In fact, because of the 
shift in priorities and the move of the American constructor from Iraq 
to Iran, completed only in June, the American projects for Iran were 
barely begun. No adequate force of skilled Americans reached the site 
of work until September, and no sufficient quantity of construction 
equipment, especially for highway building, until October. War De- 
partment plans to militarize and expand the activities carried on under 
civilian contract owed their inception as much to the unsatisfactory 
progress of construction as to the unsuitability of maintaining civilians 
in a theater of war. But at midyear these plans were still in the talking 

The events of June and July, culminating in the high-level decisions 
affecting Persian Corridor operations, launched a period of intense 
activity. 15 General Sidney Spalding was sent from Washington; Prime 

u Ltr, Lt Comdr Derwood W. Lockard to OpNav, via Dir, Naval Intelligence, 1 Aug 42. 

11 Much of the material in this section draws upon: (1) Analysis, Persian Gulf 
Capacities for Period 10 Oct-10 Nov 42 (August Shipments ex-USA), Result of Conf, 
29 Jul 42, Gens Spalding and Faymonville, Col Shingler, Comdr Lockard, Bosworth Monck; 
Memo, ACofS, Opns, for CofS, Hq, PGC, 12 Nov 44, giving estimated British tonnages 
for Russian-aid cargoes during 1942. PGF 122. (2) Rad, Spalding to Washington, 30 Jul 42, 
copy; Rad, Lock, Basra, to RepMinShip New York, repeat Shipminder London, 30 Jul 42, 
copy; Rpt, Lt Col Alden K. Sibley to CG, USAFIME, through CG, SOS, USAFIME, 
18 Aug 43, sub: A Brief Assessment of Two Years' Activities of U.S. Army Forces in the 
Middle East, 11 Sep 41-11 Sep 43. PGF 236. (3) Rpt Serial 138-42, Lockard, Basra, to 
Intelligence Div, OpNav, 1 Aug 42, atchd to Ltr cited n. 14. (4) Rads 135, Churchill 
to Roosevelt, 22 Aug 42, Harriman to Roosevelt, 23 Aug 42, AMSME 857, Maxwell to WD, 
22 Aug 42, all being Incl I, Summary of Basic Correspondence, of Plan for Operation of 
Certain Iranian Communications Facilities between Persian Gulf Ports and Tehran by U.S. 
Army Forces, 3 Sep 42 (the SOS Plan) ; Summary of Present and Projected Shipping 
Capacities, and Target Estimates Persian Gulf Supply Routes as of 22 Aug 42, prepared 
by Col Shingler in conference with British officials, both atchd to Incl III, Ports, Facilities, 
Capacities, and Inland Distribution, of SOS Plan. Copy PGF 235. (5) Documents dated 
13-17 Aug 42 on Harriman-Maxwell trip to Moscow. OPD-99-H-42 (F1ME-L). 
(6) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 627. (7) History: United States Military Iranian 
Mission, 20 Mar 43, prepared for Col Don G. Shingler, Chief of Mission, by 1st Lt Victor 
E. Dietze, Hist Off, pp. 32, 34. PGF 242. (8) Min of Stf Mtg attended by Gens Wilson, 
Maxwell, and Spalding, Cairo, 24 Aug 42. AG 334.8 Hq AMET. (9) Rads, U.S. MA, 
Tehran, to G-2, Washington, 17, 18 Jul 42, quoted in Memo, Maj Gen George V. Strong 
for CG, SOS, 24 Aug 42; Memo, Gen Somervell for Gen Lutes, 29 Aug 42; Memo, 
Gen Spalding for Gen Somervell, 4 Sep 42, sub: Target Estimate of Persian Gulf Supply 
Routes. Atchd to SOS Plan, Copy Contl Div, ASF, Sp Coll, HRS DRB AGO This last file 
contains originals and copies of planning papers which have supplied incidental information. 


Minister Churchill himself went from London to Cairo and Tehran, 
as did Averell Harriman. Harriman and General Maxwell went to 
Moscow to consult Stalin on Soviet needs, and Harriman, after stopping 
off in Cairo on the way back to report to Churchill, proceeded to 
Washington. General Faymonville came down from Moscow. The 
signals offices at Cairo, Basra, Baghdad, and Tehran dispatched thou- 
sands of words of estimates, surveys, and recommendations. And all the 
while time was passing, and there was no time to lose. 

When General Spalding reached Basra in the last days of July it 
was known that some twenty-eight ships, most of them from the United 
States, bearing 1 25,000 long tons of cargo for the USSR were scheduled 
to reach Persian Gulf ports beginning in October; and that some 7,000 
additional tons from India, East Africa, and elsewhere were also com- 
ing. The immediate problem, therefore, was to devise measures for 
clearing 132,000 long tons of incoming Russian-aid materiel. In addi- 
tion was the even graver problem of meeting a new target. By the July 
decisions, 200,000 long tons a month of Russian-aid deliveries was the 
new goal. It was double the figure originally set and at midyear so 
hopelessly far from attainment. In all of 1942, including the latter 
months when Soviet deliveries considerably bettered the record of the 
early months, the total lift for the USSR through the Persian Corridor 
attained only about 350,000 long tons. The new target therefore set 
a goal almost seven times as great as that actually achieved in all 1942 ; 
and it was set when the prospects for its accomplishment were at their 
dimmest. It was two and one third times the estimated August inland 
clearance capacity. It disposed of any thought of surrendering to the 
crisis by reducing Soviet tonnages, for it affirmed that, no matter what 
the difficulties, Russian aid would be increased. 16 With the sights dras- 
tically raised, it was up to the planners to devise ways and means to 
meet the new goals. 

The preparation of recommendations for handling the cargoes soon 
expected and those to come in the new program required stocktaking of 
three sorts. First, present methods had to be reviewed, their deficiencies 
analyzed, and their improvement determined. Second, present and 
projected facilities had to be surveyed: docks and dock equipment, 
railway rolling stock, highway routes, labor, and construction equip- 
ment. On the basis of data developed from these two kinds of inquiry, 
the third step, preparation of capacity estimates for port discharge and 

10 According to Commander Lockard, W, H. Lock, Director of the Ministry of War 
Transport at Basra, who had gone to Washington to discuss port problems, was believed to 
have considered recommending a decrease in Soviet loads for Persian Gulf ports. Ltr 
cited n. 14. 


inland clearance, could be taken. Many individuals and agencies shared 
in the arduous business of fact finding. Lt. Comdr. Derwood W. Lock- 
ard's probing analysis of the immediate need as well as the ultimate 
proved reliable and suggestive, although his estimates were nearly all 
increased as planning went on. American fact hunters were almost 
wholly dependent upon British sources for their information and, as 
there were many different British sources, estimates rarely agreed even 
upon vital points. Much information was channeled through Colonel 
Shingler 's transportation officer, Maj. Erme B. Myott, to Shingler who, 
after consultation with local American, British, and Soviet authorities, 
prepared numerous comprehensive and detailed estimates for General 
Spalding. These became the basis of studies carried on by the G-4 staff 
at USAFIME headquarters, Cairo, which in turn were used in draw- 
ing up General Maxwell's recommendations to Washington after he 
and Spalding had conferred with Churchill, Harriman, General Wil- 
son, Commander-in-Chief, PAI Force, and the top British Middle East 
transport and quartermaster men, Maj. Gen. Sir Donald J. McMullen 
and General Riddell-Webster respectively. 

What to do with the incoming cargoes which were just over the 
horizon was Spalding's first order of business. Some decision had to be 
reached, and reached promptly, in order that the necessary shipping 
arrangements could be made at New York and other American ports. 
A conference at Basra on 29 July, participated in by Spalding, Faymon- 
ville, Shingler, Lockard, and Monck, concluded that, in the period 10 
October to 10 November, when the 132,000 long tons would hit the 
Persian Gulf ports, inland clearance by road and rail— after deducting 
tonnages for the British military forces, the Iranian civilian economy, 
and the Polish refugees being cared for by the British military — could 
accommodate only 111 ,500 long tons for the USSR. Other figures, based 
upon data not used at that meeting or providing solutions different from 
those reached on 29 July, appear in messages and estimates which went 
from Spalding to Washington and from the Ministry of War Transport, 
Basra, to its officials at New York who had to load and route ships with 
due regard to the capacities of the various Gulf ports to receive certain 
kinds of cargoes. The significant general conclusion of the conference 
on the immediate problem was that as of 1 August there was an esti- 
mated gap of 54,000 long tons monthly between the capacity of the 
ports of Basra, Bandar Shahpur, Khorramshahr, Ahwaz (lighter port 
on the Karun River) , and Bushire to receive all cargoes and the smaller 
capacity of existent rail and road facilities to carry all kinds of tonnages 
inland. It was obvious that substantial backlogs would accumulate at 
the ports until inland clearance could be brought into balance with 


port capacities. The cargoes arriving in October-November would 
have to be processed under existing conditions and methods subject 
to whatever improvements were immediately possible to make; but 
General Spalding advised Washington that wharf cranes, diesel engines 
for the railway, road-making equipment, and military port operating 
personnel additional to that already requested by Colonel Shingler for 
the militarization and expansion of the civilian contract operations 
were urgently required. 

The general problem of the new quota called attention first to 
existing organization and procedure. Some Americans whom Spalding 
consulted complained that, as Commander Lockard put it, plans to 
increase Russian loads "frequently have had only lip service paid 
them." This criticism was directed at the British who were at midyear 
solely responsible for transport matters. Whether accurate or not as a 
statement of fact, the criticism did not do full justice to the other re- 
sponsibilities borne by the British forces in the Corridor. Indeed, when 
General Spalding told General Wilson at Cairo that "there has been 
no serious backing of the Persian supply route" by the British and 
American forces, Wilson in reply referred to a letter in which 
Churchill had once pointed out to Roosevelt that it would be difficult 
for the British to supply Russia and at the same time maintain British 
forces in a suitable state of readiness to repel invasion. 

The tug of war between priorities for British and Soviet needs had 
resulted in numerous frustrations and alterations of plans, a striking 
example of which was furnished by the shift of the American tasks from 
the port construction at Umm Qasr and other Iraqi projects. It is easy 
to understand, long after the fact, that such difficulties were inherent in 
a co-operative rather than a combined operation ; but the feeling was 
strong at the conferences held by Spalding that they might have been 
largely avoided if the British had not divided responsibility for their 
Russian-aid operations among at least five agencies. Within the area 
controlled by Tenth Army, transport facilities were created and 
operated by separate transport directorates for Iran and Iraq; the 
Ministry of War Transport and UKCC, independent agencies each 
reporting to London, shared in both policy and operation; and the 
busiest Persian Gulf port, at Basra, was nominally under the control of 
the Iraqi Government. Lockard's recommendations for improvement 
struck at the basic weakness of divided responsibility. Although Tenth 
Army, by virtue of the directive given in 1941 to Quinan, was respon- 
sible in general for the Russian-aid delivery program, no single agency 
responsible to Tenth Army had the matter in hand. Lockard noted that 
on 20 September the Quartermaster General, Tenth Army, would be- 


come Inspector General, Communications for Iraq and Iran, and that 
he would be advised by directors of transportation and movements 
control whose functions, contrary to those of their parallels at GHQ, 
Middle East Forces, Cairo, were, as of 1 August, for local reasons, not 
clearly enough defined to prevent friction and overlap. The Lockard 
report recommended establishment of a permanent committee to sug- 
gest improvements in efficiency and to be presided over by a repre- 
sentative of the Ministry of War Transport. The other members would 
be an officer of Tenth Army and an American officer qualified as a 
transport expert. The committee would be responsible to Tenth Army, 
but would have the right to appeal to higher authority any movement 
ordered by Tenth Army detrimental to Russian aid. It was further 
recommended that the committee was to be solely concerned with 
Russian-aid movements and must have power to allocate priorities in 
both ship and land movements. 

While improvement of methods and centralization of authority 
were vital parts of any scheme to increase performance, benefits result- 
ing from them would be conditioned by the tools available for the job. 
Tonnage estimates therefore depended on the condition of ports, rail- 
way, and highways, and on the speed with which the disparity between 
port discharge and inland clearance could be wiped out. Up to mid- 
summer of 1942, Basra, both as the sea gate of the British line of com- 
munications and as the best equipped port on the Gulf, had been dis- 
charging more cargo than Khorramshahr, Bandar Shahpur, and Bu- 
shire together. But until the port area of Basra was connected that 
summer to the ISR by the branch line to Cheybassi, Russian-aid goods, 
which approximated one fourth of Basra ship discharge, had to go over- 
land by truck, and this threw a disproportionately heavy burden upon 
the UKCC and British Army motor transport services using the Khana- 
qin Lift and other highway routes north from Basra. On the other hand, 
Bandar Shahpur, where new dock construction at midsummer was far 
behind schedule, discharged much less tonnage than was cleared inland 
by rail. Bushire landed small tonnages and sent them inland over one 
of the worst roads in Iran. At midsummer Khorramshahr's discharge 
capacity was only half that of Basra's. Like Basra's, it was largely de- 
pendent, for clearance to Soviet receiving points, on road transport, for 
the new rail extension to Ahwaz, though completed in June, was not 
yet useful for heavy work. As Khorramshahr's docks were finished and 
put into service and as the new rail line gained capacity, that port would 
rise, as it eventually did, to top position. But the planners in August 
had to forecast as well as they could the rate of improvement in facilities 
and to provide a shift in loads from port to port as the relative pros- 


pective capacities of ports to discharge and to clear inland altered. It 
was apparent that, until Basra's rail connection with the ISR could 
haul large tonnages, truck haulage out of Basra would have to be 
stepped up ; and until the new highway out of Khorramshahr was ready, 
other highway routes would have to be utilized. The only hope of hold- 
ing the accumulation of backlogs to manageable proportions was there- 
fore to build up motor transport wherever possible during the re- 
mainder of 1942. Thereafter, if all went according to plan, motor 
transport would become secondary to the railway. 

The procurement of enough trucks and drivers was a pressing 
problem, for there was no time to bring them from the United States. 
Lockard estimated that the UKCG had assembled — and as of 1 August 
was operating — 1,300 lend-lease trucks and around 1,000 Iranian 
trucks on contract. There were perhaps 3,000 nonmilitary trucks in 
Iran, many of them laid up for lack of tires; but it was felt that UKCC 
could put tires on 1,000 of them from its stock of 16,000 tires, and thus 
add an estimated 7,000 tons to road capacity. The Lockard report 
recommended the drastic step of requisitioning all remaining nonmili- 
tary trucks in Iran, and the equally drastic step of suggesting to the 
Russians that their trucks, which were driven north loaded, be sent 
over the route twice before delivery. Colonel Shingler's tonnage esti- 
mates, which went forward to Cairo and Washington, forecast that up 
to 1 January 1943 more than half of total inland clearance would be 
accomplished by truck, and that after that date more than half would 
move by rail. His figures showed an imbalance between ship discharge 
and inland clearance up to 1 December 1942, but optimistically (as the 
event proved) expected new construction, new methods, and increased 
manpower to even the score after that date. Procurement of trucks was 
essential to attainment of his goals. 

The Shingler estimates were predicated upon the use of every 
known trucking route in the frantic search for maximum delivery, 
although in his view it was preferable to use those which were most 
convenient and quickly capable of development, expanding as a last 
resort to less desirable routes. His figures thus included calculations for 
use of highways in eastern Iran, including the Zahidan-Meshed route 
used for a time by UKCC and under improvement by a UKCC con- 
tractor. This route had been opposed by the Russians in January 1 942 
as delivering cargoes too far from their battle lines ; and, since it termi- 
nated at Ashkhabad, inside the border of the Turkmen Soviet Republic, 
it would almost certainly continue to be opposed by the Soviets as re- 
quiring admission within their borders of American and British military 
personnel. As a minor feeder to these routes Shingler included the use 


of Karachi for discharge of not more than 30,000 long tons monthly. 
Two highway routes originating in Iraq were also included in the 
Shingler estimates. 17 

The total discharge capacity of ports, 18 which was estimated at 
189,000 long tons as of 1 August, rose in the Shingler tables to 252,000 
for November, and 399,500 tons for June 1943, with the possibility of 
advancing the last figure to February. The last two figures, if attained, 
would be sufficient to accommodate both the new target of 200,000 
long tons monthly for the USSR and mounting tonnages for British and 
American military needs, Iranian civilian economy, and the Polish 
refugees. The totals given included estimates that the ISR could haul 
78,000 long tons north of Andimeshk in November, 90,000 in Decem- 
ber, and 180,000 by June 1943, or 6,000 tons a dav in contrast to its 
1941 rate of 200. 19 

Concurrently with the assembly of these figures the process of 
relating them to available and prospective operational plans was going 
on. Churchill, Harriman, Maxwell, and Spalding concluded their vari- 
ous consultations at Moscow, Tehran, and Basra and reassembled at 
Cairo. There, just before Churchill's departure for London, Harriman 
repeated to him the suggestion that American service troops expand 
and operate Persian Gulf ports and the ISR. The fact gathering had 
now to be turned to account in devising methods of operation. The 
British and Americans who conferred together at Cairo had before 
them the suggestions of the past nine months. These were of three 
kinds : increased manpower ; increased centralization of authority and 
responsibility within the British administration ; and American opera- 
tion of rail, port, and motor transport facilities. The first was being 
partly met by the War Department's militarization of civilian contract 
activities, service troops for which were proposed for shipment in the 
latter part of 1942. This program, conceived months before the mid- 
summer crisis brought the SOS Plan into existence, was, while retain- 
ing its individuality up to a late hour, ultimately to be merged in troop 
estimates and dispositions for the SOS Plan. Centralizing within the 

" Notes supplied the author by General Shingler, 16 May 1950. 

18 Basra (Margil and Tanuma), Ahwaz, Khorramshahr, Bandar Shahpur, Bushire, and 

19 The Summary of Present and Projected Shipping Capacities, cited note 15(4), which 
eliminated the Basra-area port of Margil, estimated September capacity of Bushire, Bandar 
Shahpur, and Khorramshahr at between 99,000 and 129,000 long tons and rail clearance 
at 60,000. The same document estimated ultimate attainable target capacity for those ports 
plus the lighter basin later called Cheybassi at 261,000 long tons, with rail clearance of 
180,000 tons and road clearance (not estimated for September) at 61,500 tons. Both esti- 
mates left a considerable gap which meant accumulation of backlogs; but the document 
noted that water and road routes in the Tigris valley, not included in the estimates, could be 
developed or utilized to close the gap. 


American command responsibility for transport solved part of the old 
problem of divided British responsibilities. But there was still to be 
solved the intricate question of the relation of American to British 

On 22 August General Maxwell sent to Washington the broad out- 
lines of an American plan. This superseded a tentative plan sent to 
London a few days earlier by General Spalding. Maxwell's proposals 
embodied the conclusions of the conferees at Cairo and was concurred 
in by GHQ, Middle East Forces, subject to approval of a final general 
plan. Maxwell stated the purpose of the plan as twofold: to assist in 
increasing the flow of supplies to the USSR; and to provide the British 
forces in the Corridor with their necessary requirements. A basic target 
figure of 251,000 long tons monthly was established, of which 180,000 
would be carried by the ISR north of Andimeshk. Inasmuch as this 
figure was for the ports of Khorramshahr, Bushire, Bandar Shahpur, 
and Tanuma only, it represented a decision to concentrate American 
activity at those ports, whereas the Shingler figure of 252,000 long tons 
monthly had included other ports. The basic American target therefore 
did not include the additional tonnage that could be handled at Basra 
by the British. It was further proposed that the American Army operate 
the ISR from Tehran to the Gulf, and that an American truck for- 
warding organization be set up to supplement the UKCC. In addi- 
tion to units already planned for the militarization program, Maxwell 
proposed a total troop strength for the plan of 8,048 officers and men. 
He noted that Negro troops would be "acceptable" for port and truck 
units. 20 

The Maxwell message had this to say on the problem of authority 
and responsibility: 

The allocation of traffic in this area would be made by the British military 
authorities, even though the actual operations would be under control of the U.S. 
Army Forces in the Middle East. All action would be under a general policy to be 
established by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, which would take into consideration 

M ( 1 ) Spalding discussed the employment of American Negro troops with Ministry of 
War Transport officials at Basra and the matter was referred to London. In recommending 
their use in a message of 30 July 1942 Spalding noted that the British had not specifically 
approved the idea. A condition of British approval of the importation of American Negro 
troops into Iran and Iraq was that they would be kept apart from the natives. Some Ameri- 
cans thought this was out of fear of the consequences of the disparity in rates of pay. 
Maxwell envisaged use of Negro troops in supervisory capacities. The SOS planners in 
Washington in September decided to refer the problem to General Connolly as commanding 
general, leaving him to dispose his troops as he saw fit. Memos of Sep dates in SOS Plan 
file cited n. 15(9). (2) The estimated strength figure was made up of 3 port battalions 
and a headquarters, totaling 2,667; 2 railway operating battalions and 1 engineer battalion 
totaling 2,363; and 3,018 for 2 truck regiments. Estimates of equipment called for 75 
locomotives and 1,200 "wagons" of 20-ton capacity for the railway; and 7,200 trucks of 
an average capacity of 7 tons for the motor transport service. 


all the principles which govern the amount of cargo which is agreed to be for- 
warded to the USSR. Inasmuch as the traffic is subject to emergency military 
demands, and because the facilities are within the British theater of operations, it 
is felt that the allocation of the traffic should rest with the British military 

Two more messages served to transfer the planning to Washington. 
From London on 22 August Prime Minister Churchill sent his answer 
to President Roosevelt's proposal of the previous month : 

I have delayed my reply until I could study the Trans-Persian situation on the 
spot. This I have now done both at Tehran and here, and have conferred with 
Averell [Harriman], General Maxwell, General Spalding and their railway experts. 
The traffic on the Trans-Persian Railway is expected to reach three thousand tons 
a day for all purposes by [the] end of the year. We are all convinced that it ought 
to be raised to six thousand tons. Only in this way can we ensure an expanding 
flow of supplies to Russia while building up the military forces which we must 
move into Northern Persia to meet a possible German advance. 

To reach the higher figure, it will be necessary to increase largely the railway 
personnel and to provide additional quantities of rolling stock and technical equip- 
ment. Furthermore, the target will only be attained in reasonable time if enthusiasm 
and energy are devoted to the task and a high priority accorded to its requirements. 

I therefore welcome and accept your most helpful proposal contained in your 
telegram, that the railway should be taken over, developed and operated by the 
United States Army; with the railroad should be included the ports of Khorram- 
shahr and Bandar Shahpur. Your people would thus undertake the great task of 
opening up the Persian Corridor, which will carry primarily your supplies to 
Russia. All our people here agree on the benefits which would follow your approval 
of this suggestion. We should be unable to find the resources without your help 
and our burden in the Middle East would be eased by the release for use elsewhere 
of the British units now operating the railway. The railway and ports would be 
managed entirely by your people, though the allocation of traffic would have to be 
retained in the hands of the British military authorities for whom the railway is 
an essential channel of communication for operational purposes. I see no obstacle 
in this to harmonious working. 

The change-over would have to be carefully planned to avoid any temporary 
reduction of effort, but I think it should start as soon as possible. Averell is cabling 
you detailed suggestions. 21 

Harriman sent a message to the President on 23 August. He strongly 
reinforced Churchill's cable by stating that the British did not possess 
the resources or personnel to carry out the expanded program even if 
the United States should supply the equipment. Furthermore, Harri- 
man warned. "Unless the United States Army undertakes the task, 

" Churchill's draft acceptance of 18 July 1942 (Item 62 cited note 2(4)) sent to Harry 
Hopkins read : 

I welcome and accept your most helpful proposal contained in your telegram that the 
Railways should be taken over, developed and operated by the U.S. Army; with the railroads 
should be included certain Persian ports — though the allocation of traffic would have to be 
retained in the hands of the British military authorities for whom the railway is an essential 
channel of communication for operational purposes. 


the flow of supplies to Russia will dry up as the requirements of the 
British forces in the theater increase." He added that the importance 
of developing the ISR could not be overemphasized and that "the 
condition in the Prime Minister's cable of the British retaining control 
of traffic to be moved is reasonable, offers no practical difficulty, and 
should be accepted." The message went on to recommend that the task 
be undertaken, and that a top-caliber railroad man of a western rail- 
road be drafted and commissioned in the Army with the rank of 
brigadier general. He should be "vigorous and young, not much over 
fifty, with experience on mountain and desert operations, [and] ability 
to handle relations with different nationalities." With a party of twenty 
to twenty-five key men he should proceed at once by air to Iran to 
arrange with the British on the spot for the gradual taking over of the 
ISR south of Tehran. Noting that the turnaround of ships in the ports 
"is deplorably slow," Harriman recommended early dispatch of port 
battalions, including the transfer to Khorramshahr of one "now in 
Karachi which has not been allowed to function due to labor union 
restrictions." Karachi, an auxiliary port in Shingler's estimates, was 
thus eliminated by Harriman. Although Churchill's message had not 
touched on motor transport, Maxwell's proposal had included a truck- 
ing service while urging top priority for port and rail plans. Harriman 
noted, "The British are also asking for help with trucks and personnel 
to increase the road transports," and added, "This is an important 
proposal but of second priority to the railroad and ports." 

On 25 August, the President directed General Marshall to prepare 
a plan for operation of certain Iranian communications by U.S. Army 
forces. This signal set in motion three more stages in the process of 
increasing aid to the USSR. First, a plan had to be evolved; next, it 
had to be considered and approved ; and finally, it had to be mounted. 
It was now Washington's turn, for the first time in the war, to train its 
biggest planning guns upon a major Middle East project. 

The Chief of Staff passed the President's directive to Operations 
Division which referred the whole business of planning to General 
Somervell's Services of Supply. The preparation of a detailed plan was 
assigned to the Strategic Logistics Division, SOS, Col. Dabney O. 
Elliott, Director, with over-all responsibility centered in General Lutes, 
Somervell's Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations. 22 On 29 August 
Somervell wrote Lutes that the plan was to be so complete that the 
signature of the President would set it into motion, down to the last 
detail. "This is the first opportunity," Somervell said, "that the SOS 

" Detailed plans were presented him by the Corps of Engineers on 29 August, and by the 
Signal and Medical Corps on 30 August. 


has had to turn in a report of this kind, and I wish it to be the best we 
can do." By 3 September the plan was completed by the Strategic 
Logistics Division, SOS. On the next day it was passed to General 
Somervell and by him to Operations Division and the Chief of Staff, 
equipped with a draft letter for the Chief of Staff to send to the Presi- 
dent, submitting the plan to him, and a draft cable for the President to 
send the Prime Minister, stating, "I have approved a plan to put 
[Churchill's] proposal into effect." 

But the plan was to take a different course. It was not, after all, 
a purely American plan, and so the President's approval would not 
have set it in motion. It was a plan for fitting increased American re- 
sponsibilities within the already existing framework of British responsi- 
bilities and authority. From the office of the Chief of Staff the completed 
plan went, therefore, on 9 September to the U.S. Joint Staff Planners. 
Having received their approval it went on to the Anglo-American Com- 
bined Staff Planners on 11 September, who debated it, amended it, 
and recommended its approval by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. This 
was granted on 22 September by CCS 109/1 and the plan was returned 
to the U.S. War Department for action. On 25 September Maj. Gen. 
Thomas T. Handy, Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD, transmitted CCS 
109/1 to the Commanding General, SOS, for his information and 
action. It was just one month from the date of the President's directive, 
just two months from the day the Combined Chiefs' naming of Torch 
made inevitable increased aid to Russia through the Persian Corridor. 

The SOS Plan 

The Plan for Operation of Certain Iranian Communication Facili- 
ties between Persian Gulf Ports and Tehran by U.S. Army Forces, 
running to nineteen typewritten pages with ten inclosures, consisted of 
basic correspondence, estimates, appreciations of terrain and facilities, 
maps, organization charts and tables, and drafts of letters of instruction, 
activation orders, and movement orders. 23 Its provisions may be sum- 
marized under the general headings of logistics and administration. 

Logistic Recommendations 

Target Estimates. The plan assumed no carry-over of backlog ton- 
nages from the period of special stress between August 1942 and June 

"The basic documents for this and the following sections are: (1) SOS Plan copy 
cited n. 15(4). (2) SOS Plan copy cited n. 15(9). (3) CCS 109/1, cited n. 2(5), and 
Tab "A", draft telg to General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, PAI Force. (4) Another 
copy of CCS 109/1, with American and British drafts atchd. Registered Documents Room, 


1943. On that basis it adopted the Maxwell-Shingler figure of 6,000 
long tons per day (or 180,000 long tons monthly) for ultimate rail 
carriage of all cargoes north of Andimeshk. Its target for the ports of 
Khorramshahr, Bandar Shahpur, Bushire, and Tanuma increased the 
Maxwell-Shingler figure to 8,700 tons daily, or 261,000 monthly, for 
all cargoes. It looked forward to ultimate road capacity by truck of 
1 72,000 long tons monthly, a figure greatly in excess of those previously 
set. The expanded highway estimate, if attained, would leave ample 
leeway for increased port performance which would otherwise overtax 
the railway. 

Facilities, Manpower, and Equipment, The Maxwell recommenda- 
tion that the four ports just named should be American operated was 
followed, as was the provision for three port battalions (including one 
to be transferred from Karachi to Khorramshahr, as suggested by Har- 
riman) . The Maxwell estimate of 3,121 men for the ports was likewise 
accepted. Concise information on port equipment was not available to 
the Washington planners, who noted that ample stocks were on hand 
at the New York Port of Embarkation and could be shipped out with 
the port battalions. 

The composition of railway units was restated by the plan, although 
it followed the Maxwell strength figure of 2,722 officers and men. The 
units were to be one engineer railway grand division, one engineer bat- 
talion (railway shop), two engineer battalions (operation), and one 
engineer transportation company (less one platoon). The plan pro- 
vided for 75 locomotives and 2,200 freight cars of 20-ton capacity, 
which included the 1,200 cars in the Maxwell estimate and 1,000 cars 
already ordered under lend-lease. To accomplish delivery the plan 
contemplated diverting to Iran 1,200 cars at Karachi destined for Iraq, 
but noted that this would be subject to procurement in the United 
States of adequate brake equipment for them for the mountains of 

Three highway routes were listed in the plan in addition to that 
running north from Khorramshahr, a part of which was under con- 
struction by the engineer civilian constructor. The three others were : 
Khorramshahr-Ahwaz-Hamadan-Kazvin, Bushire-Shiraz-Tehran, 
and some portions of the route through Iraq via Khanaqin used by the 
UKCC and British military motor transport. The plan anticipated that 
truck deliveries would also be made at Tabriz and Pahlevi, both inside 
the Soviet zone of Iran. Like the Maxwell estimate, the SOS Plan ex- 
pected to use native drivers to supplement American soldier drivers in 
the motor transport service; but the native role was somewhat di- 


minished, while the military strength was increased to 5,291 officers 
and men for the trucks. In addition, the SOS Plan provided a large 
reserve of military personnel for highway maintenance, not to be 
shipped "unless experience dictates the need for them." This reserve 
comprised two engineer regiments, one engineer maintenance com- 
pany, and three engineer dump truck companies. In addition an engi- 
neer headquarters (corps) was set up in the plan to supervise road 
maintenance and to go overseas "in the primary shipments." 

The problem of estimating and providing trucks in suitable 
quantities and sizes illustrates the complexity of logistic planning. To 
begin with, the width and surfacing of highways to be used were de- 
termined by the potential traffic they would be called upon to bear. 
The traffic tonnage was conditioned by many factors, of which the 
chief one was the determination at highest levels of Soviet needs and 
the next in importance was the capacity of the ports to receive and 
discharge tonnage. Once upon the highway, tonnage was susceptible to 
a variety of treatments, these in turn conditioned by such diverse factors 
as terrain, climate, and the human element en route. During the days 
of intensive planning it was determined that the use of small trucks 
(under 3-ton capacity) was wholly out of the question because not only 
were there not enough drivers to man the larger number of trucks thus 
required to move a given tonnage but the larger number of trucks would 
call for an excessive number of maintenance crews and service stations. 
Moreover, more trucks per ton of haulage meant larger and less man- 
ageable convoys. And if these factors were not themselves controlling 
in the decision against small trucks, the hot and waterless terrain would, 
as always, have had the last word. It was the experience of the British 
in Iran that because of the dust trucks could not proceed safely closer 
than three hundred yards apart, double that if there were two lines of 
traffic. This was a problem in visibility, not in the comfort of the drivers. 
With such spacing in dusty areas the advantage lay with fewer and 
bigger trucks. In actual operation, photographs show that American 
convoys, depending on highway surface conditions, traveled from 
fifty feet to three hundred yards apart. 24 

The Maxwell estimate called for 7,200 trucks of 7-ton average 
carrying capacity. The SOS Plan noted that some 1,100 trucks could 
be found immediately, some of them, of 10-ton capacity, to be re- 
possessed from a lot ordered by the British under lend-lease, and others, 
of unknown size, at Karachi "belonging to the Chinese." But, unfortu- 

" British estimate of distance in Ltr, British Off in charge of highway construction by the 
contractor, Kampsax, to Gen Spaulding, 31 Jul 42, sub: Road Carrying Capacity. Contl 
Div, ASF, Sp Coll, HRS DRB AGO. 


nately for the intention of the earlier planners, the remainder, stated 
the plan, would have to come from the stocks of 2 /2-ton trucks with 
trailers presently available or in production in the United States. 

The plan included in its strength estimates a total of 822 officers 
and men for command headquarters, and 7,405 officers and men for 
miscellaneous services. The Signal Corps, for example, estimated that 
1,181 officers and men would be required to establish communications 
between the command and Basra, Asmara, and Karachi ; and within 
the command along the railway and highway routes. There would be 
need also to provide hospitalization for 10 percent of total troop 
strength ; units and equipment for water purification, shoe and textile 
repairs, laundry, and sterilization; and limited ordnance supply and 
repair equipment, all at a 120-day supply level. 

Overseas Movement and Future Supply of the Operation. Arrang- 
ing for overseas movement was dependent upon settlement of a whole 
series of priority questions. First came priorities within the project 
itself, and these were basically determined by the plan's acceptance of 
the primacy of rail and ports operations. But then everything to go 
abroad had to be fitted into a prearranged spot on a ship ; and the avail- 
ability of ships was interlocked with the general conduct of the war 
and with the priority given to the Persian Gulf movement with relation 
to the many other movements competing for shipping at the same time. 
Nearly 40 percent of total planned strength was to be diverted from 
Bolero. 25 The Combined Staff Planners, commenting on planned di- 
versions of shipping, noted that forty-four cargo ship sailings diverted 
to the Persian Gulf would cost Bolero, because of the shorter distance 
to England and quicker turnaround, a total of 1 10 sailings. In arrang- 
ing personnel shipments, rail operating troops came first, followed by 
port and truck troops. These three groups, with accompanying house- 
keeping and general service and maintenance personnel, came to some 
18,000 men. The planning indicated the following analysis: 

Troops in area 26 338 

Port Battalion from Karachi 889 

Available in area 1, 227 

M 8,969 out of 23,876. 

"Consisting of Hq 1616 (FGSC), 128 officers, 8 enlisted men 136 

Fart of 833d Signal Service Company 36 

Company A, 84th QM Bn (LM) 166 

Total 338 

There was also a 50-bed station hospital staffed by 54 civilians who would have to be 
replaced. Incl VII, Troop Movements to Persian Gulf Serv Comd, SOS Plan copy cited 
n. 15(4). 


Maxwell estimates 8, 365 

SOS Plan 9,769 

Total from U.S 18, 134 

Plus total available in area 1, 227 

Total — 19, 361 

Deferred (highway maintenance and service troops ) 4, 515 

Aggregate strength 23,876 

A basic plan for movement overseas was presented on 30 August 
by the Transportation Corps. It calculated shipping for a total of 
471,000 ship tons of cargo including provision for 16,159 vehicles. It 
was estimated that with shipping withdrawn from Bolero and the 
Murmansk route, 50 percent of personnel could sail the first month of 
the movement, and that, beginning 1 October, cargo could be shipped 
at the rate of ten ships a month through January 1943. The Transporta- 
tion Corps calculations counted on getting the initial echelon with its 
proportionate share of equipment out to Iran and at work there by the 
end of December 1942, completing the whole movement by late Feb- 
ruary or early March. 27 

The SOS Plan provided for carriage of 475,000 ship tons, but other- 
wise closely followed the estimate of the Transportation Corps. After 
some fifty-one vessels had carried the movement to Iran, it was esti- 
mated that two vessels a month of 8,000-ton cargo capacity each would 
be required to keep the force supplied. Although every effort would be 
made to get as many parts of the new task under way at once through 
simultaneous shipment of men and materials, the basic priority of ship- 
ments would be in the following order : 

( 1 ) The forward echelon of headquarters. 

( 2 ) Railway and port operating personnel. 

( 3 ) Equipment and supplies for operation of railway and ports. 

( 4 ) Personnel and equipment for motor transport operations. 

(5) Miscellaneous service and other units to make the command 

Administrative Recommendations 

In administrative matters the SOS planners confined themselves to 
general recommendations, inasmuch as the organization of the Ameri- 
can command and its operation within the framework of British powers 

"Memo, Maj Gen C. P. Gross, CofTrans, for Somervell, 30 Aug 42, sub: Trans Serv 
for Persian Gulf. SPTSA/370.5-A. 


and responsibilities were matters respectively for determination by the 
American commanding general in the field and for mutual agreement 
between British and American field commanders, subject to the direc- 
tion of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. It was recommended, therefore, 
that the Persian Gulf Service Command should be reorganized to con- 
tinue existing American activities in construction and assembly and to 
carry out the new commitments. The organizational structure sug- 
gested was a simple one: a PGSC headquarters and three subhead- 
quarters for ports, railway, and motor transport services to which the 
operating units of those services would report. Hospital, depot, and mis- 
cellaneous service units were also provided for. The Commanding 
General, PGSC, was to have wide discretion to deal directly on trans- 
port matters and allocations of traffic with representatives of Great 
Britain, the USSR, Iran, and Iraq "in conformity with policies estab- 
lished by the Commanding General, USAFIME," and was to be em- 
powered to communicate directly with the War Department "except 
for military operational activities." 28 The SOS Plan thus envisaged a 
semiautonomous American organization nominally under the jurisdic- 
tion of USAFIME at Cairo but able to act promptly on vital local 
questions. "The importance of the Iranian supply routes," stated the 
plan, "renders it essential that the British and United States command- 
ers have authority to take the necessary steps on the ground to remove 
any administrative or other hindrances to the smooth operation of this 
channel of supply at maximum capacity." 

As had been recommended by Churchill, Harriman, Maxwell, and 
Spalding, the Americans were to operate transport services while the 
British were to continue to control traffic. The plan did not elaborate 
details for the working out of arrangements. In one field of activity in 
which Anglo-American co-operation would be required it did, how- 
ever, venture a comment. It was noted that unrest in Iran might at any 
time give rise to acts of sabotage, especially against the railway, whose 
many tunnels and bridges made it peculiarly vulnerable. Enemy suc- 
cesses in North Africa and the Caucasus would increase the danger 
from this source, and to counter the danger British forces in Iran, ac- 
cording to information as of 15 May available to the planners, num- 
bered only 15,000. The SOS Plan assigned only one military police 
battalion and one military police company to the American forces, and 
their functions would be confined to routine interior guard and police 
duties at ports and other American-controlled installations. In view of 
these scant means of enforcing security, the plan observed that Ameri- 

" From Incl V-a, SOS Plan copy cited n. 15(4). 


can railway units would have to be trained to defend themselves against 
marauders. "It is assumed," said the plan, "that since Iran is within 
the British area of responsibility, the necessary security of these supply 
routes and critical installations will be provided by the British." 

The Plan Approved 

The directive of the Combined Chiefs of Staff was the law and the 
prophets for the Anglo-American effort in the Persian Corridor. In 
the logistic field it accepted the recommendations of the SOS Plan in 
all but a few minor details. The Combined Chiefs added the barge port 
of Ahv/az on the Karun River to the list of installations to be operated 
by the American Army; and they adopted the recommendations of a 
combined military transportation committee for the overseas move- 
ment of the American forces which modified SOS Plan recommenda- 
tions for shipping. The Combined Chiefs noted that no difficulty would 
be anticipated in effecting the first and second priority personnel ship- 
ments through early November; and that after that it would be neces- 
sary before arranging for further troopships to await word from the 
field as to how much native labor could be used on American projects, 
and whether economies in troop shipments could be achieved in this 
manner. In order not to overtax the still limited facilities at Persian 
Gulf ports, the Combined Chiefs reduced the monthly cargo ship sail- 
ing estimates for the movement from ten to five, and noted that as late 
as December the ports could handle not more than 34,000 long tons 
monthly for the overseas movement without reducing cargo handling 
for the USSR, British military needs, and requirements of the Iranian 
civilian economy. As it developed, even this figure proved optimistic. 

The main business of the Combined Chiefs was to establish policy 
for co-ordinated Anglo-American operations, and more than half their 
paper was devoted to the definition of the respective responsibilities of 
the British and American armies. Three assumptions were stated as 
basic : "This area lies within the sphere of British strategic responsibil- 
ity, which will require careful co-ordination regarding control, allo- 
cation, and priority of supplies" ; to carry out its increased responsibili- 
ties in the Persian Corridor, the United States would have to divert per- 
sonnel, equipment, and ships from planned use in other theaters ; and 
the new plan would increase the strategic dispersion of United States 
military resources by throwing new forces into an area "definitely 
threatened by the German drive into the Caucasus." The second and 
third of these basic assumptions underlay the forceful statement which 


was set as the first condition attaching to acceptance of the plan. The 
first assumption governed the remaining conditions. 
The relevant passages from CCS 109/1 follow: 

9 (a) (1) That the primary objective of the U.S. forces in this area will be to 
insure the uninterrupted and increased flow of all supplies into Soviet Russia. 
Over and above the minimum requirements for British forces consistent with their 
combat mission, and essential civilian needs, Russian supplies must have highest 

(2) That the necessary military protection be furnished by the British to insure 
adequate security of the railroads, roads, and harbor facilities against the threat 
of sabotage and Axis air, ground, and sea operations. The Commanding General, 
Persian Gulf Service Command, must be familiarized with the British plan in 
order that he may integrate his available local defensive means with those of the 

(3) That the control of these railroads, road routes, and ports be exercised by 
the British General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Persia/Iraq Command 
as follows: 

a. The Commanding General, U.S. Persian Gulf Service Command, will 
develop, operate, and maintain the port facilities at Bandar Shahpur, Khorr- 
amshahr, Tanuma, Ahwaz, and Bushire. He will assist in maintaining roads leading 
from these ports to the general vicinity of Tehran and will operate and control 
U.S. motor transport moving on such roads. He will develop, operate, and main- 
tain the railroads leading from those ports to Tehran. 

b. Priority of traffic and allocation of freight will be controlled by the British 
General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Persia/Iraq Command. Inasmuch 
as the primary objective of the U.S. participation in the operation of lines of 
communications from the Persian Gulf area to Tehran is to increase and insure the 
uninterrupted flow of supplies to Russia, it is definitely understood that the British 
control of priorities and allocations must not be permitted to militate against the 
attainment of such objective, subject always to the military requirements for pre- 
paring to meet a threat to the vital Persian Gulf oil areas. Should the British 
Commander in Chief make any decision which in the opinion of the Commanding 
General, U.S. Persian Gulf Service Command, would unnecessarily prejudice 
the flow of supplies to Russia, the latter will immediately report the circumstances 
through the Joint U.S. Chiefs of Staff to the Combined Chiefs of Staff in 

c. U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf Service Command will be, for all admin- 
istrative purposes, under the direction of the CG/USAFIME. 

d. During any period of active or imminent British military operations in the 
area, the Commanding General, U.S. Persian Gulf Service Command, will con- 
form to such decision, but if he does not agree will immediately report such dis- 
agreement, through the Joint U.S. Chiefs of Staff, to the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff in Washington, who will give a decision on the matter. 

e. An uninterrupted and increasing flow of vital supplies over these routes to 
accomplish the primary objective (supplies to Russia) is contingent upon complete 
cooperation between U.S. and British Commanders in the area. In the event that 
problems arise which cannot be mutually solved, each Commander will communi- 
cate (the British Commander, if desired, through the War Office) with his respec- 


tive Chiefs of Staff, who will in turn present the matter for the decision of the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington. 

Unfinished Business 

It was inevitable that both the SOS Plan and the directive of the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff would be modified when put to the test of 
actual experience in the field. The one was a forecast which on the 
whole proved remarkably accurate ; the other was a working compro- 
mise whose ambiguities in certain important matters had to be clarified 
as the experiment in co-operation developed. Both papers left to the 
future a legacy of unfinished business not apparent in the summaries 
of their contents; and both embodied rejection or acceptance of vary- 
ing points of view. Differences of opinion and ambiguities in policy 
were among the many obstacles besetting the Persian Corridor delivery 
program. It would require an Olympian omniscience to say that the job 
would have gone faster if this or that had been learned earlier; or to 
go even farther and say that all the main pitfalls were clearly foresee- 
able by September 1942 and therefore wholly avoidable. Such a sweep- 
ing statement would be false. Some of the unfinished business, broadly 
considered, was avoidable. Nearly all of it, if considered from such a 
single and limited point of view as the primacy of the logistic commit- 
ment to the USSR, was avoidable also. The entire operation under the 
SOS Plan, which had its origin in a tangle of global events and policies, 
was never free of their implications and influences, and cannot, there- 
fore, be fairly judged by any limited criteria. This must be borne in 
mind in considering differences in point of view as expressed in the SOS 
planning period. 29 

A striking instance of delay in reconciling differences of opinion on 
a matter of major policy was transport operation by the Americans. 
When it was first suggested, the United States was not a belligerent, 
and for many months after Pearl Harbor the debate for and against 
American operation proceeded not as between the Americans on one 

28 A minority opinion about the SOS Plan as a whole was voiced by General Greely 
when asked his views by the Strategic Logistics Division, SOS. He felt, as did others in the 
War Department earlier in 1942, that U.S. service troops should not be used to support 
the operations of non-American forces. Therefore, he recommended that the midsummer 
crisis of 1942 should be met by the dispatch of U.S. combat troops to Egypt before any 
service troops should go to Iran. Such troops, if sent to Iran, should be limited to the task 
of moving supplies to the USSR, and only in such types and quantities as required for the 
Caucasus campaign. Greely recommended that Shingler be asked to estimate needs for such 
limited aid to Russia and that "he should be protected in his recommendations." Greely 
also thought that Iranian and Iraqi troops should be used to defend the oil fields. Memo, 
Dir, Strategic Logistics Div, SOS, for Gen Lutes, transmitting information from intervs with 
Gens Aurand and Greely and Col Hauser, 30 Aug 42. Contl Div, ASF, Sp Coll, HRS 


side and the British on the other, but as between disputants in each 
camp, whose arguments canceled each other out. It is an extreme sim- 
plification to say that American operation of the ISR came a year after 
it should have because a perverse and obstinate group of British Army 
men in the field delighted in keeping the railway to themselves and 
refused to extend themselves too strenuously in aid to Russia ; and yet 
there were Americans who believed just that. A psychiatrist might trace 
the roots of their belief to the auxiliary status of the American forces in 
the area of British responsibility, and to their consequent feeling that, 
somehow, they were being put upon and were at a disadvantage which 
in some fashion represented a British success in extended Anglo-Ameri- 
can maneuvers. But the auxiliary status went, as it were, with the job. 
When the British first asked American help in 1941, it was the only 
way help could be furnished. No evidence has been found that Presi- 
dent Roosevelt demanded any quid pro quo whatever when the Iranian 
Mission was organized, or that at any time thereafter it ever occurred 
to him to do so. Although resultant conditions for members of the 
United States Army may have been, and indeed in many an instance 
were, personally galling, nothing illustrates more convincingly the dis- 
interestedness of the American task as a whole than the continued 
auxiliary position of the United States forces in the Corridor. The posi- 
tion, while admirable, was not an easy one for the U.S. Army. 

There was, for example, the basic assumption of the SOS Plan as 
restated and approved by the Combined Chiefs : American operation, 
British control of movements and allocations. Churchill had written 
Roosevelt, "I see no obstacle in this to harmonious working" ; Harriman 
had called it reasonable, and had told the President it offered "no prac- 
tical difficulty." The Maxwell proposal had accepted it as a matter of 
course; but then the Maxwell cable of 22 August had posited a dual 
mission for the American command: to provide British forces with 
their requirements and to supply the USSR. It is significant, however, 
that CCS 109/1 stated that the sole justification for U.S. Army activity 
under the SOS Plan was aid to Russia. There is no mention of aid to 
the British line of communications, Basra to Baghdad. Between the 
dates of the Maxwell recommendation and the directive of the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff the Combined Staff Planners had threshed out the 
problem of allocations. For American operation under over-all British 
control of movements was not just a question of division of authority. 
Control of traffic carried with it the implementation of policy, and 
would reflect basic decisions as to the priorities to be given to British 
and Soviet needs. It was an old and a sore point and had plagued the 
Americans since their first arrival in the field. 


British control of movements and allocations wore three aspects. 
First, this control was essential to the exercise of British responsibility 
for the military security of the area. On this ground alone the American 
planners had no thought of challenging it. Second, British control, if 
not subject to fixed policy with regard to the primacy of Russian aid, 
might conceivably result in diminution of that program. This aspect 
worried the Americans among the Combined Staff Planners, and they 
succeeded after considerable exchange of ideas in achieving in CCS 
109/1 the statement given above as paragraph 9 (a) ( 1 ) , including the 
word minimum, which was not present in all preliminary drafts. 30 
This statement, taken with that in paragraph 9 (a) (3) b, marked a 
meeting of minds and the establishment of unmistakably clear policy 
regarding priorities in Corridor movements. But American operation 
of transport within the over-all control of movements by the British 
offered still a third difficulty on the purely administrative level. Time 
and again the U.S. Army had, whether deliberately or inadvertently, 
experimented with this sort of divided responsibility in its relations 
with its own civilian contractors. There was evidence that, at least on 
that level, divided operational and managerial responsibility could not 
be efficiently administered. Because this third aspect of the control 
problem was tied in with the other two, the opinions of those who 
believed divided responsibilities to have been the bane of Persian Corri- 
dor activities in 1942 and equally undesirable as a feature of the SOS 
Plan were overridden in favor of the optimistic hopes of Churchill and 
Harriman. 51 This was the biggest piece of unfinished business left by 
the SOS Plan and the Combined Chiefs of Staff directive; but by 1 
May 1943, as the story of subsequent operations will show, effective 
control of movements passed to the Americans. There is no doubt that 
Stalingrad and El Alamein had a lot to do with British willingness to 
delegate the controls they exercised under the Tri-Partite Treaty to the 
Americans, for the diminishing threat of Axis invasion enabled them 
to relax a full state of readiness to repel invaders. But the change, which 
was the only fundamental alteration in the SOS Plan under pressure 
of field conditions, was equally attributable to the inefficiency of di- 

" This word is omitted from the draft telegram recommended by the Combined Chiefs 
of Staff to be sent as basic instructions to the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, PAI 
Force (cited n. 23(3)). Paragraph 2 (a) of that draft includes the sentence, "Therefore, 
after meeting the requirements for British forces and essential civilian needs, Russian supplies 
must have highest priority." This is considerably less rigid than CCS 109/1 itself and is 
illustrative of the devices by which the Combined Chiefs attained harmony and agreement. 

31 General Greely's former chief of staff of the USSR Mission, Colonel Hauser, when 
consulted by the Strategic Logistics Division, SOS, voiced "the definite opinion that a U.S. 
organization subject to British control of traffic will not be successful." Memo cited n. 29. 


vided responsibility and to the mutual confidence in which the Anglo- 
American partners held one another. 

In September 1942 the turning back of Axis pressures against the 
Middle East was not even a plausible hope ; hence the Combined Chiefs' 
proviso that, although British control of priorities and allocations must 
not militate against the flow of supplies to Russia, such control would 
be "subject always to the military requirements for preparing to meet 
a threat to the vital Persian Gulf oil areas." This proviso indicates how 
closely interwoven were the issues of movement control and security, 
for both of which the Combined Staff Planners assigned responsibility 
to the British. But whereas movement control ultimately became 
effectively American, security was in practice enforced by both armies. 
There were two categories of security to be covered by the planning : 
the over-all military security of the area, a problem which diminished 
as Axis threats disappeared in 1943; and the local security of ports, 
docks, storage areas and warehouses, property in transit, vehicles, men 
and equipment, telegraph systems, oil and gasoline refueling stations, 
rail and highway bridges, tunnels, and rights of way — a complex 
agglomeration of liabilities, from the security point of view, which had 
to be taken care of by both the British and the Americans. In this second 
category of security responsibilities it was never a practical possibility 
to draw a distinct dividing line between British and American jurisdic- 
tion. Both the SOS Plan and CCS 109/1, therefore, confined themselves 
to a statement of basic and comprehensive British responsibility for all 
kinds of security. The draft telegram prepared by the Combined Chiefs 
for the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief , PAI Force, was broadly 
expressed. "You will be responsible," it said (paragraph 2 (d) ), for 
providing the necessary military protection "to insure adequate security 
of the railroads, roads and harbor facilities against sabotage and Axis 
air, ground and sea operations." The instruction continued: "You will 
also insure that such defense means as are available to the Commanding 
General, U.S. Persian Gulf Service Command, are co-ordinated with 
yours, without interfering in any way with any arrangements made by 
him for the local protection of his forces." The wording should be com- 
pared to the language of CCS 1 09/ 1 ( paragraph 9(2)). 

Both versions provide for the protection of day-to-day logistic 
operations, as well as for the contingent duty of repelling invasion. The 
two texts perhaps reveal a secret of the success of the Combined Chiefs 
in directing a great wartime coalition: they were not unnecessarily 
dogmatic, nor were they tiresomely consistent in details. Theirs was 
the task of making a shoe that would fit in all weathers and outlast, if 


necessary, a succession of wearers. The problem here was one of com- 
mand relationships. In the discussions of the Combined Staff Planners 
the American members respected the paramountcy of British responsi- 
bility for security under treaty obligations. Moreover, the SOS Plan 
provided, as has been noted, only the most meager American military 
police forces for the most routine of interior guard duties, and the 
planned American force was for service, not combat. The American 
planners, however, did feel it desirable that the British commander in 
the field should acquaint his American opposite with his security plans, 
and this stipulation was incorporated in CCS 109/1 (paragraph9 (2)). 
On the other hand, the draft instructions for the British commander 
(paragraph 2 (d) ) laid upon him no obligation to communicate his 
plans for security to the American commander. The draft instructions 
were wholly silent on this question, with the result that the British com- 
mander was free to proceed either in accordance with the directive 
paper or with his specific instructions, both of which emanated from the 
same supreme source of authority. This was a piece of unsettled busi- 
ness which, unlike other ambiguities, caused no future trouble since 
there was no invasion and therefore no necessity to put any American 
soldiers in the area under British command. 32 Nor was there any time 
during the rest of the war when either the British or the American 
commander used the machinery of the directive to appeal disputes to 
the supreme authority of the Combined Chiefs. Once again co- 
operation worked. 

Although the SOS Plan and CCS 109/1 left a few important ques- 
tions to the future, the biggest of these problems, control of movements, 
was promptly solved by straightforward adjustment in the field. The 
closely related questions of security responsibility and command rela- 
tionships, while never precisely defined, were answered from day to day 
by a working compromise between a unification of forces, which the 

** (1) While the Combined Staff Planners were meeting, Colonel Shingler was holding 
informal conversations with his British opposite numbers in the field about many problems 
that would arise when large numbers of American troops would come. It was unofficially 
agreed that "some form of Anglo-U.S. unified command" was called for to deal with the 
co-ordination of Iranian native manpower to prevent uneconomic and inefficient competition 
for services, inequalities in pay rates, and similar disparities between un-co-ordinated British 
and American agencies. It was also unofficially agreed that, after the disposition of the new 
American service troops, "Administrative command should be British where such machinery 
exists at present, and American in any future station where American units only will be 
functioning." British Summary of "Talk with Col. Shingler, U. S. P. G. S. C. on 13 September 
42." PGF 131. (2) Shingler held similar talks in Aprifl942 to prepare for the then expected 
arrival of troops in August under the militarization program; and Maxwell in October 
reached informal agreements in Cairo as to relationships between American and British 
forces. Neither of these tentative explorations was connected with the implementation of 
the SOS Plan. 


Americans did not desire, and a separation of forces, which no one 
desired. 33 

Some further recommendations of the SOS Plan and CCS 109/1, 
which chiefly concerned internal affairs of the American command and 
which were altered after a period of trial and error, require comment. 
Two of these were in the logistic field, two of them in the administra- 
tive. The SOS Plan, perhaps influenced by the interim proposals put 
forward in July and August to deal with the immediate problem of 
backlogs, recommended several highway routes for the use of Ameri- 
can motor transport. As soon as construction permitted, American 
trucking was assigned to the road between Khorramshahr and Kazvin. 
To Churchill's suggestion that the Americans operate the ports of 
Khorramshahr and Bandar Shahpur, the plan added Bushire and 
Tanuma, suggested by Maxwell. The directive added Ahwaz. By deci- 
sions reached in the field only Khorramshahr and Bandar Shahpur 
were taken over by the American command, although the lighterage 
basin near Tanuma, which was later designated Cheybassi, was taken 
over in addition and operated between July 1943 and October 1944. 
Bushire was eliminated as a port for American expansion and opera- 
tion early in 1943, and Ahwaz, as a busy center of British Inland Water 
Transport activity, handled too little Soviet cargo to justify its inclu- 
sion in the American program. 34 

Although the SOS Plan recommended wide powers for the Ameri- 
can commanding general to deal locally with representatives of the 
other nations concerned with supply and although it permitted him to 
communicate directly with the War Department, it left him subject 
to the commanding general of USAFIME. This decision represented a 
rejection of opinion within the War Department which advocated sep- 
aration of the American command in Iran from USAFIME. 35 But the 
separation did not take place until 10 December 1943, following the 
declaration of Tehran respecting the sovereignty of Iran. 

A similar ambiguity in administrative controls concerned the inten- 
tions of the SOS planners as to the administrative relationship between 

" Security as an administrative problem is discussed in Chapter XI and as an operating 
problem in Chapters XVI, XVII and XVIII below. 

** Maj. George L. Morton inspected Bushire in November 1942 and reported to Col. 
Donald P. Booth that improvements in discharge and clearance there without an increase 
in ship arrivals would be pointless. A subcommittee of the War Transport Executive Com- 
mittee considered Bushire in January 1943 and concluded that the port's shallow offshore 
roadstead, the execrable highway inland, the distance of the port from Tehran, and the lack 
of truckable cargoes for inland carriage by vehicles assembled at the UKCC plant made 
improvement of Bushire less desirable than expenditure of equal effort at more promising 
locations. Pages 4—5 of history cited n. 1 1. 

" See Memo cited n, 29. 


the American command and the representative of the War Shipping 
Administration. A draft Letter of Instructions for the Commanding 
General, USAFIME, stated that in port matters under the jurisdiction 
of the War Shipping Administration, the Commanding General, 
PGSC, "will be assisted by their local representative, who will operate 
under his supervision." 36 This established one of those situations where 
"control" and "supervision" overlap, sometimes with unfortunate con- 
sequences. Although the draft just quoted never became a binding 
statement of policy, it suggests that the planners were willing to take a 
chance on the consequences of leaving certain areas of port manage- 
ment divided between the American command in the field and the 
civilian War Shipping Administration." 

Implementing the Plan 

While the SOS Plan was still in the mill the War Department on 
14 September ordered Brig. Gen. Donald H. Connolly from Headquar- 
ters, Army Air Forces, to Headquarters, Services of Supply, to prepare 
to take over command of the new American force for the Persian Cor- 
ridor. Connolly was an engineer graduate of West Point (1910) and 
had served several assignments as district engineer on rivers and har- 
bors projects. On detached service in 1934 he had, as Administrator 
of the Los Angeles Civil Works Administration, come to know Harry 
Hopkins. In 1935-39 he served as Administrator of the Works Progress 
Administration at Los Angeles. In 1940 he was Corps Engineer of the 
Ninth Army Corps; from 1940 to 1942, Administrator of Civil Aero- 
nautics, Department of Commerce, directing construction of many 
airports; he served also as a member of the National Advisory Com- 
mittee for Aeronautics; and in 1942 he went to Headquarters, Army 
Air Forces, Washington. The SOS planners had made numerous recom- 
mendations for key personnel for the new Amercian command, but 
only one was put into force. Their recommendation that Shingler be 
made chief of staff was effective briefly until Connolly's personal choice, 
Col. Stanley L. Scott, arrived at Basra to relieve Shingler. Scott, like 
Connolly, was an engineer graduate of West Point (1916) and was 
brought by Connolly to Washington from a position as Division Engi- 
neer of the Southwest Division. As Chief of Staff of Headquarters 1616, 
the name the newborn organization for Iran took from its office space 
in the Munitions Building in Washington, it was to be his job to direct 

"Incl V-b, SOS Plan copy cited n. 15(4). . 

37 The relations between WSA and the American command are touched upon in Chapter 
XVIII below. 


the mounting of the SOS Plan. A wide range of assignments had pre- 
ceded this one, including a term as district engineer at Honolulu when 
he was head of the Public Works Administration for the Territory of 
Hawaii (1931-34), service in the Office of the Chief of Engineers, in- 
struction at West Point and Fort Belvoir, and district and division 
engineer posts from 1938 to 1942 in which he was in charge of con- 
struction programs for rivers and harbors, dams, locks, and airfields 
exceeding a billion dollars in value. His new task involved the selection 
of some forty key personnel who were flown to the field during October, 
November, and December ahead of the first shipment of troops. Colonel 
Scott also assigned final priorities of men and materials for shipment. 
Working within the broad outlines of the SOS Plan which had recom- 
mended the form of three operating services, he was to devise a pattern 
of organization for the reorganized PGSC. 38 

On 1 October Connolly was issued a Letter of Instructions as the 
commanding general of the PGSC. Leaving Scott in Washington to see 
to the mounting of the new undertaking, Connolly reached Basra on 

20 October. Colonel Shingler, who had continued field command of 
PGSC, now became Connolly's acting chief of staff and served until 
Scott, who was chief of staff of the headquarters at Washington, arrived 
at Basra on 20 November and relieved him. On 25 October Connolly 
was promoted to major general. 38 

Planning for the overseas shipment of Movement 1616 and its suc- 
cessors occupied General Connolly during the brief period of his stay 
in Washington, and Colonel Scott until his departure in November. 
On 2 October the President sent a memorandum to the Secretary of 
War and other cabinet and administration officials in which he in- 
formed them of the circumstances which had made it imperative to 
increase aid to the USSR via the Persian Gulf in order to meet the 
quotas set under the Second (Washington) Protocol for the period 1 
July 1942 to 1 July 1943. He urged "that the project for the operation 
and enlargement of the transportation facilities of the Persian Corridor 

" (1) Intervs with Scott, Pentagon, 7, 8 Jan 48, and Connolly, Pentagon, 18 Aug 50; 
biographical information in PGF and AGO; and WD SO 249, 14 Sep 42. (2) GO 6, 
Hq, PGSC, USAFIME, 20 Nov 42, in accordance with Ltr Orders TAG, 15 Oct 42. 
(3) Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 83, 85, 100. 

" (1) Scott became a brigadier general 28 October 1942. (2) By GO 13, Hq, PGSC, 

21 December 1942, Shingler became District Commander, Basra District, serving until 3 
March 1943. He served as Director, Motor Transport Service, from 13 March to 22 
September 1943, and was promoted to brigadier general on 18 March 1943. He departed 
for the United States on 4 September 1943. An inquiry from Wheeler to Connolly in January 
1943 as to whether Connolly would release Shingler for service with Wheeler in CBI drew 
the reply that Shingler's work was "very important" to the command and that Shingler 
was willing to remain with PGSC. Rad TIGAR TTA 63, Wheeler to Connolly, 3 Jan 43, 
and abstract of reply. PGF 262. 


be given sufficient priority and support in the form of men, equipment 
and ships to insure its early and effective accomplishment." i0 

On 5 and 6 October Colonel Scott presented General Somervell 
with two memoranda based upon the estimates of the SOS Plan and 
subsequent estimates which had been sent in by Maxwell and Shingler. 
These papers listed troops, supplies, and equipment needed, divided 
into five priorities. The first embraced troops and supplies for 10,000 
men's subsistence, including a 150-day supply for water purification 
equipment, refrigerants, and cleaning and laundry supplies. The sec- 
ond category was port unloading equipment. The third was locomo- 
tives, with diesels ahead of steam engines. The fourth included small 
trucks, pumps, machinery, and construction equipment. The fifth was 
larger trucks. Other papers reveal the multiplicity of items necessary for 
the expedition : quartermaster materials for truck repair and mainte- 
nance; ordnance, engineer, and signals materials; and for the railway 
such details as grinding wheels, steam gauges, and tubular water glasses 
for boilers. The variety was endless. 41 

The groupings listed indicated relative importance of the several 
items in point: of their arrival in the field. Their shipment was fitted into 
over-all shipping priorities. In arranging these Colonel Scott and Gen- 
eral Connolly altered the order previously accepted. General Maxwell 
had recommended equally high priorities for the railway and the ports, 
and Harriman had likewise subordinated personnel and equipment 
for trucking to the other services. The SOS Plan had adhered to these 
recommendations but had stipulated that, if simultaneous shipment for 
ports and railway could not always be accomplished, personnel and 
equipment for the railway should take precedence. Priorities for Move- 
ment 1616 placed the ports first, followed in order by the railway and 
the motor transport requirements, though it did not follow that every- 
thing for the ports had to be shipped before anything for the railway. 
Items were fed into the pipeline, however, in that general order, and 
as much went forward together as shipping space permitted. After he 
had been in Iran for about six weeks, Connolly told Somervell that this 
was "my biggest mistake," for he had supposed that the physical task 
of unloading ships at the ports was the bottleneck. Upon arrival, how- 
ever, he learned that the rate of unloading ships, under existing condi- 

40 (I) All Washington functions completed, Rear Echelon, Headquarters 1616, ASF, was 
dissolved 22 March 1943. Home Office Rpt to Hq, PGSC, 23 Mar 43. 336.01 International 
Agreements, SL 9012. (2) Memo, President for Secy War et al, 2 Oct 42. 092.2 Tripartite 
Pact, SL 9012. 

"Memos, Scott for Somervell, 5, 6 Oct 42, sub: Movement of Troops, Equipment, and 
Supplies to PGSC. Abstracts PGF 262. 


tions, was determined by the ability to move cargoes inland. "If I had 
known the above before leaving Washington, I would have arranged 
my priorities of men and equipment differently," he wrote. 42 

In view of the agreement among those who conferred in July and 
August with General Spalding that immediate provision of greatly 
increased truckage was urgent, some explanation is required of the rela- 
tively low priority which the SOS Plan assigned to men and equipment 
for a motor transport service. The explanation is a simple one: the 
SOS Plan aimed not at a temporary need, but at long-range require- 
ments. Properly developed, the railway would obviously handle the 
lion's share of inland clearance, with motor haulage supplementing it. 
The conferees were faced with an immediate problem whose solution 
was sought locally because there was no time to wait for an SOS Plan 
to be developed and mounted. The interval between midsummer and 
the early months of 1943, when the Americans took over their new 
assignments, saw little diminution of the critical transport crisis, so 
that in time the problem, which had been a British one, was merged in 
the new American effort. The trucks and motor transport personnel 
which were shipped out for the SOS Plan from October onward 
eventually did their part in bringing backlogs under control. 

Meanwhile, until he was relieved by Connolly Colonel Shingler 
attempted, with what incomplete information Washington supplied 
him, to fit the plans for the militarization of civilian contract activities 
into the new plans for reinforcing and expanding the American task. 
To a memorandum addressed to Spalding on 12 September Shingler 
attached "compilations showing U.S. Army Service units deemed 
necessary to support the Special Units assigned or planned for operation 
of facilities in the Persian Gulf Area." * 3 A list of equipment for road 
work was carried by Colonel Lieber, who departed the next day for 
Washington. Shingler's memorandum reported a somewhat cool re- 
sponse to efforts he had been making to discuss the proposed American 
commitments in the field of transport with British military authorities. 
It furnished a footnote to Churchill's assertion to the President that 
the changeover of certain operations from British to American hands 
would have to be carefully planned to avoid "any temporary reduction 
of effort." Shingler wrote, "Apparently word of our prospective par- 
ticipation had spread since several British underlings appear to be 
'resting on their oars' awaiting our appearance. Port conditions are 

"(1) Interv with Scott cited n. 38(1). (2) Ltr, Gen Connolly to Gen Somervell, 
1 Dec 42. OCofTrans, Hist Br — Overseas Comd, Pentagon. 
" Memo, Shingler for Spalding, 12 Sep 42. PGF 259. 


particularly disturbed. ... It is obvious to all that we are of necessity 
concerning ourselves with conditions over which we have neither the 
authority nor the physical means to improve now." The root difficulty 
during the period of transition which was beginning was that until 
Connolly arrived in the field with a new mission in transport, Shingler's 
responsibilities remained the old ones in construction and assembly, 
and his efforts in transport would continue to be purely advisory. His 
message to Spalding would indicate that he was not informed how far 
the SOS Plan had progressed, and his planning was therefore along 
the old lines of the militarization program. 

The merging of that program with the new undertaking came very 
late in the day and without any formal abandonment of the militariza- 
tion program. As has been told, estimated troop strength under the 
SOS Plan included the Shingler-Maxwell estimates for personnel, plus 
the strength previously earmarked for militarization, plus supple- 
mentary estimates. Until General Connolly's assumption of command 
on 20 October, it would appear that planning in the field was for an 
expanded militarization program with added responsibilities. This con- 
ception of the situation underlies a letter from Shingler to Louis Drey- 
fus, American Minister at Tehran, on 18 September, only a few days 
before the Combined Chiefs of Staff approved the SOS Plan and issued 
their directive. The letter discussed the procurement of Iranian drivers 
up to the number of 6,000 for the fleet of 7,200 trucks "to be operated 
by this headquarters" in moving tonnage to northern Iran and beyond. 
It noted that, while "a certain percentage of drivers" would be pro- 
vided by the U.S. Army, "It is quite essential that a major portion 
of the truck drivers be civilians, and secured in Iran." Dreyfus was re- 
quested to make inquiries of the Iranian Government's attitude in the 
matter and was told that in view of present British intentions to recruit 
a smaller number of native drivers "primarily for military" haulage, 
it was Shingler's hope that Americans would not be excluded "through 
treaty provisions or other considerations" from utilizing native man- 
power. An initial group of 2,000 would be required by November." It 
can be inferred from this letter that Washington, in its intense preoccu- 
pation with preparation of the SOS Plan, had not fully informed 
Shingler that the plan would provide over 5,000 American soldier 
drivers for the truck fleet, and that Shingler was thus proceeding, in 
accordance with the situation as it existed during the midsummer con- 
ferences with Spalding, to make provision for a solution of the trucking 
problem that was dependent primarily upon native drivers. It was well 

44 Ltr, Shingler to Dreyfus, 18 Sep 42. PGF 259. 


that he did, for the American trucking service ultimately found it neces- 
sary to use several thousand native drivers. 15 

Thus, while the plan itself was getting off to a very good start in 
Washington, its eventual implementation in the field was headed for 
many months of difficult transition. Once put into action, the plan 
gradually brought order out of confusion. How long this toilsome 
process took is apparent in the statistical tables in this book. By the 
middle of 1943 there was evidence enough that the new tools would 
do the job. 

" (1) Sec Ch. XVI, p, 323, below. (2) An indication of how closely guarded from those 
in the field were Washington's plans is furnished by a personal letter written before Connolly's 
arrival by Philip C. Kidd, civilian representative of lend-lease in Iran. Kidd wrote that it was 
not known what relation Connolly's new command would bear to USAFIME, or whether 
Shingler would be reassigned or would continue as administrative head of the command 
while Connolly would "run the railroad." Abstract PGF 262. (3) Spalding reported on his 
return to Washington that both Maxwell and Shingler felt the need of a liaison officer in 
Washington familiar with specific area problems. Although Somervell proposed to Maxwell 
an arrangement to meet the need, nothing significant developed. Ltr, Somervell to Maxwell, 
22 Sep 42. AG 210.31 (9-22-42) (40). 


Blueprint for the Machine 

This is a chapter about paper — that indispensable commodity with- 
out which modern war could scarcely be sustained. Those who do the 
paper work, generally held in contempt by the men of action, carry 
a heavy burden of importance and responsibility. So all-encompassing 
is the paper side of war that it is sometimes hard to tell where the 
paper-shuffler leaves off and the man of action begins. Sometimes they 
are one and the same person, embodying inseparable functions of com- 
mand. And all their papers — the orders and counterorders, the designa- 
tions and redesignations — and all their charts with those ubiquitous, 
those mystical, little boxes connected, straight or zig-zag, but connected, 
somehow, by lines of authority, make up the blueprint for the machine 
that goes by the name of administration. 

Theoretically, organic structure, like Jefferson's idea of government, 
is best when at a minimum essential to efficient operation ; worst when 
bud proliferates to leaf, and leaf to branch, until a jungle dimness ob- 
scures the light. This tendency to overexpansion, common to all types 
of organization, civil or military, is especially marked under field con- 
ditions of great urgency, when extravagant use of manpower may be 
justified by the results obtained. It is only one of several obstacles to a 
simple description of the paper side of the American task in the Persian 
Corridor. If two heads are observed growing upon a stalk where one is 
normal, the botanist, torn between his admiration of nature's little 
prank and his curiosity concerning the soil that produced such luxuri- 
ance, stuffs his notebook with exceptions and monstrosities and forgets 
the species for the sport. It is thus also with the too literal chronicler 
of the paper side of war. 

Organization provides the machinery for carrying out duties by at- 
taining objectives. In this sense, function, which is the definition of 
objectives, is inseparable from organic structure, which is the form of 
function, and from operation, which is the expression of function. Only 
a static function amidst static conditions could produce an adminis- 
trative machine that would keep still long enough to be photographed. 


But static is hardly the word for the American operation in the Persian 
Corridor. Yet some kind of picture must be secured. It must be caught 
from the spate of organization charts and manuals which issued from 
the various headquarters. These documents are exercises in theory. 
They seek a generalized solution for specific problems. They represent 
an agreed way of doing tasks whose common elements are thought 
susceptible to a common treatment. But, although they are the revered 
icons of the paper shufflers, they are not inviolable. In instances where 
their theoretically inflexible generalizations clash with ever changing 
fact, they prove themselves surprisingly flexible. Though they decree, 
for example, that administrative subareas shall control all building 
construction within their respective borders, they permit an exception 
where a certain subarea is equipped to perform this function not only 
for itself, but for its neighbor, who is thereby relieved of that responsi- 
bility. This is flexibility for the sake of efficiency; but too many de- 
partures from the charts produce overlapping and duplication. Effi- 
ciency suffers, and more change is required to correct the situation. And 
so ad infinitum. 

The administrative evolution of the American command in the 
Persian Corridor was marked not only by this kind of change. There 
were also shifts to accommodate new functions, and shifts to improve 
procedures for carrying out old functions. And there were shifts, alas, 
whose motivation, if ever significant, seems somewhat less than that in 
retrospect. For it must be conceded that there are some paper shufflers 
who shuffle purely out of habit. Charts and manuals, then, do not tell the 
whole story. That must be left to some future devotee of the mysteries 
of administration. 

The Structure of American Headquarters x 

When General Connolly assumed command of the PGSC on his 
arrival at Basra, 20 October 1942, the strength at his disposal com- 

1 Unless otherwise indicated, the first two sections derive from the followin e sources. 
These provide materials for more detailed study than is possible in this book: (1) | Chart 1. I 
(2) Organization Charts for PGSC and PGC: (a) As recommended in SOS Plan, sec. 
Ill, par. 9, and Ind V, PGF 235; (b) Tentative, approved 30 Nov 42, 323.61 Establish- 
ment of Military Districts, Binder 2, SL 9008; (c) Mar and Jul 43, in Organization Manuals 
of those dates, PGF 240; (d) 7 Nov 43, 384, Special Questionnaire from Gen Somervell, 
SL 9016, another copy PGF 240; (e) Oct 44, PGF 240; (f) Proposed, 12 Dec 44, 323.361 
Powers and Duties, SL 9008; (g) 1 Feb 45, filed as in (e) ; (h) Mar 45, PGF 240; (i) Basra 
Dist and Ports Serv, 2 Jan 43, PGF 240. (3) Organization Manuals for the Comd, for 
43 and 44, PGF 240; and for certain stf divs and operating servs, PGF 122. (4) The 
separate files of each general staff division and headquarters for each operating service, 
district service command, camp, post, and station, formerly at St. Louis, now filed at the 
Kansas City Records Center. (5) Rosters to February 1943, and records of unit activations, 
arrivals, and assignments to 20 July 1944. PGF 245 and 259. (6) Files of General and 


prised some 400 officers and men of the Services of Supply and the Air 
Forces and just under 1 ,000 American civilians. In eight months' time 
PGSC strength would approach its maximum of nearly 30,000 service 
troops, with only a handful of civilian technicians remaining after com- 
pletion of militarization of the contractor projects, t Table 13 and 
\Chart 2\ Appendixes A and B) In a little more than two" mOntilS' lime, 
the first echelon, numbering some 5,000, would land at Khorramshahr 
to take over the new American responsibilities. By the first week in 
January 1943, PGSC headquarters — temporarily carrying on at Ma- 
rine House, Ashar, where almost from the first the Iranian Mission 
and its successors had been established — would move to Tehran to 
interim offices on Shah Reza Avenue. On 18 July the nerve center of 
the American command would be permanently established at Camp 
Amirabad, the great new community it was to build for itself on the 
outskirts of Tehran, complete with fine hospital, brick barracks, shops, 
offices, warehouses, and recreational facilities, where, one day in De- 
cember, the President of the United States was to surprise and delight 
the men by a visit and a warmly appreciative little speech. 2 

The prospective sevenfold increase in strength between October 
1942 and the following midyear indicates that the new command, 
which continued the name given its predecessor under Colonel Shingler 
in August 1 942, was to pass through no ordinary reorganization. The 
snake was not shedding its skin for a new one; it was to become, and 
that in a space of months, a brand new snake of which all that was to 
remain of its former state was its name. As the increase in size mirrors 
the increase in function, so the change in the location of headquarters, 
from the sea end of the British line of communications to the capital 
city in the Russian line of communications, reflects the change in 
function. That change was the Combined Chiefs' directive to the new 

Special Orders, located as in (4). (7) Detailed Studies in HOTI: (a) Pt. I, Chs. 1-5, 
Administration, by George B. Zeigler and (Ch. 5 only) Wallace P. Rusterholtz, with Annex, 
Analysis of the PGC Districts, by Victor H. Pentlarge, Jr.; (b) Pt. I, Ch. 6, History of 
the Office of Technical Information, Pt. I, Chs. 9, sec. 1, ajid 10, History of the Supply and 
Fiscal Divisions, and Pt. Ill, History of Construction, by Pentlarge; (c) History of Civilian 
Personnel Branch Activities, Administraton Division, by Col Richard W. Cooper; (d) Pt. I, 
Ch. 8, sees. 1, 3, 4, and 5, History of the Control, Movements, Documentation, and Plants 
Branches, Operations Division, and Pt. I, Ch. 1 1, History of the Foreign Claims Commission, 
Administration Division, by Laurence P. Corbett, PGF. 

* History : United States Military Iranian Mission, 20 Mar 43, prepared for Col Don G. 
Shingler, Chief of Mission, by 1st Lt Victor E. Dietze, Hist Off, pp. 55, 65-66. PGF 242. 

(2) Monthly Rpt of Activities of PGSC, Oct 42, to CG, PGSC, 5 Nov 42. PGF 259. 

(3) Memo, Hq, PGSC, 15 Jan 43, sub: Rpt of S-2 Activities Aboard Transport 441. 
PGF 242. (4) GO 3, Hq, PGSC, 20 Oct 42. (5) Memo, Hq, PGSC, 6 Jul 43, sub: 
Movement of GHQ Equipment and Personnel to Amirabad. PGF 259. (6) Troop ship- 
ments were planned for five shiploads to sail between October 1942 and March 1943. 
Memo, Lt Col N. M. Martin for Connolly, 21 Dec 42. PGF 225. (7) GO 43, Hq, PGSC, 
14 Jul 43. 


command to insure an ever increasing flow of supplies to the USSR. 
At the same time, by order of the U.S. Chief of Staff, the PGSC was to 
continue the projects undertaken by the Iranian Mission. To accom- 
plish these missions— the one primary, the other secondary — General 
Connolly's Letter of Instructions authorized him to effect such 
reorganization of the PGSC as might be necessary. 3 

Between 20 October 1942 and the arrival, exactly one month later, 
of General Scott, who immediately became chief of staff, relieving 
Colonel Shingler, temporarily acting chief of staff, no important 
changes were made in organizational structure. Before Connolly's ar- 
rival the Shingler organization had consisted of a general staff of three 
for performance of S-l, 2, 3, and 4 duties at headquarters, a special 
staff of eighteen to supervise operations, and three territorial area com- 
manders with headquarters at Basra, Ahwaz, and Tehran. There was 
also the separate organization of the Iranian District engineer at Ahwaz. 
The Shingler structure had been adequate for the direction of the old 
organization's limited operations in construction and assembly; but it 
required revamping to accommodate the new operational responsi- 
bilities in transport provided in the SOS Plan. In accordance with that 
plan's priorities for projected railway and port operations, Col. Paul F. 
Yount had reached Basra on 5 October to begin preliminary arrange- 
ments for taking over the ISR from the British. Some 1,200 officers and 
men for the Military Railway Service (MRS) landed at Khorramshahr 
on 11 and 12 December, and that organization's field career began 
formally on 1 7 December. Col. Donald P. Booth and five officers of his 
staff reached Basra on 1 November, followed in December by 940 of- 
ficers and men of the port organization that was to serve under him. 
The advance echelon of the Motor Transport Service (MTS) arrived 
in December. In preparation for the commencement of work, seven 
general staff divisions and five operating services were set up on 25 
November under the commanding general. As the preliminary plan- 
ning in Washington had anticipated no need for territorial administra- 
tive subareas, the area commands established on 1 September by 
Colonel Shingler were left undisturbed pending further study. By 
recommendation on 26 November of Colonel Booth, Director of Ports, 
new instructions were issued to area commanders in view of the need to 
distinguish between their functions and those of the new operating 
services being set up alongside them. Area functions were defined as 

" (1) Rad AMSME 1787, Marshall to Connolly, through CG, USAFIME, 13 Nov 42. 
323.35 Hq PGSC (1 Jan-31 Jul 43), SL 9008. Abstract, 14 Nov 42, PGF 259. (2) Gen 
Connolly's Ltr of Instructions, 1 Oct 42. 322.361 General Connolly's Letter of Instructions 
with Amendments, SL 9008. 


"administrative control of all U.S. Army activities" in the respective 
areas: supply, housing, security, transportation, and procurement, but 
not storage or construction. Appointments to directive positions were 
made on 25 November for general staff divisions for administration, 
personnel, intelligence, plans and training, operation and supply, con- 
trol, and movements; and to the following operating services: Railway, 
Ports, Motor Transport, Construction, and Signal Communication. A 
tentative organization chart, approved 30 November, shows also, as 
reporting to the commanding general through the chief of staff, but 
independent of the general staff divisions, an inspector general and a 
public relations branch.* 

This was the first blueprint for the machine that was to move so 
many millions of tons of goods to the USSR, and it was to be modified 
repeatedly. While there was a tendency to consolidate general staff 
functions by a reduction of divisions in that category, executive and 
advisory offices tended to cluster about the chief of staff and the com- 
manding general as certain new problems and responsibilities in dealing 
with other Allies in the Corridor cropped up and could not be assigned 
elsewhere. The functions of the seven general staff divisions are indi- 
cated by their titles; but there was some overlapping among them. Al- 
though the Personnel Division was charged with formulating general 
policy relating to the employment of civilian personnel by the operating 
services, the Control Division formulated labor relations policy also. 
Similarly, although there was a Construction Service — charged with 
designing and building authorized new projects and major modifica- 
tions to existing installations including all roads, rail trackage, port 
structures, and utilities — nevertheless, the Railway Service was to con- 
struct such modifications to its facilities as were authorized and prac- 
ticable for them to do with their own forces, and this same charge was 
laid upon the Ports Service. Maintenance and motor vehicle repair 
responsibilities were similarly divided among MTS, areas, and the Op- 

'(IJGOll.Hq, PGSC, 17 Dec 42. (2) GO 7, Hq, PGSC, 25 Nov 42. (3) Interv, Gen 
Booth with Victor Pentlarge, Pentagon, 11 Apr 46. (4) Memo, Booth for Scott, 26 Nov 42. 
326.61 Establishment of Military Districts, Binder 2, SL 9008. (5) By General Order 7, con- 
firming General Order 2 and General Order 3, Headquarters 1616-A, Washington, the 
following were appointed directors of the divisions and services indicated, effective on arrival 
in the command: Col. Arthur C. Purvis, Administration; Lt. Col. George B. Buell, Jr., 
Personnel; Col. Robert H. Givens, Jr., Intelligence; Lt. Col. Byron E. Bushnell, Plans and 
Training; Colonel Graham, Operations and Supply; Colonel Martin, Control; Maj. Victor 
E. Maston, Movements; Colonel Yount, Railway Service; Colonel Booth, Ports Service; 
Col. Mark V. Brunson, Motor Transport Service; Colonel Osborne, Construction Service; 
and Lt. Col. Samuel M. Thomas, Signal Communication Service. Subordinate appoint- 
ments to four services and two divisions were made by Special Order 80, Headquarters, 
PGSC, 25 November 1942. 


erations and Supply Division. As time went on, some of these overlaps 
were eliminated in subsequent reorganizations. 

The basic plan of command organization was a line and staff one. 
The line organization consisted of the operating services, the areas or 
districts, and exempted establishments, all directly responsible to GHQ. 
On them fell responsibility for the execution of the primary mission of 
the command. The operating services were concerned with direct field 
operation of ports, railway, motor transport, and signals activities. The 
areas or districts operated posts, camps, and stations located within 
their boundaries and, in addition, were charged with specific opera- 
tional duties assigned by GHQ. Direct operational responsibility for as- 
sembly plants, for instance, belonged in theory to the districts, although 
general staff responsibilities sometimes overlapped. Exempted estab- 
lishments were those installations which came under direct control of 
GHQ. The staff existed to advise the commanding general in the fields 
of their respective functions, to develop plans, formulate policies, and 
establish procedures. They supervised operational activities assigned 
them and sometimes through their field agencies directly controlled 
these operations. Soon after adoption of the first plan of organization 
in November, directors of general staff divisions, operating services, and 
territorial districts were called upon to submit to GHQ detailed plans 
and charts for their organizations. 8 A brief review of some of the many 
reorganizations in administrative structure which followed will indi- 
cate in a broad fashion how changing function was reflected in the 

An early reorganization of January 1943 can be regarded as mainly 
experimental, for it not only continued the dispersal of general staff 
functions among many divisions, but, by assigning the director of ports 
to general staff status, it departed from the basic principle which dis- 
tinguished planning and direction of policy from operations. A reshuffle 
in March moved intelligence out of the general staff to an association 
with the Office of the Chief of Staff. The same happened to the Control 
Division which in June was redesignated the Executive Office of the 
Chief of Staff. 8 A new Office of Technical Information was attached 
to the commanding general. It absorbed the previous Public Informa- 
tion Office, and included in addition an office for analyses to be made 
for the commanding general as contrasted to the logistical analyses 
entrusted to the former Control Division. The Office of Technical 
Information also included a Historical Section and sections for activi- 

•GO 11 cited n. 4(1). 

* GO 36, Hq, PGSC, 15 Jun43. 


ties involving interpreters and military correspondents. In anticipation 
of the reduction of its role as an operating service, as construction of 
facilities caught up with the program, the Construction Service was 
abolished and its planning functions absorbed within a new Operations 
Division, which, destined to become the most important of the general 
staff divisions in the conduct of the primary mission of the command, 
absorbed also the former Plans and Training, and Movements Divi- 
sions. The Personnel Division went into Administration, leaving only 
three general staff divisions for Administration, Operations, and Sup- 
ply. There were now three operating services, MRS, MTS, and the 
Signal Service. Ports Service was amalgamated with Basra District, 
which, with Ahwaz and Tehran Districts, made up the active territorial 

The July chart, besides reflecting the redesignation of the previous 
May whereby the districts became Gulf, Desert, and Mountain, showed 
a number of new offices clustered about the Offices of the Command- 
ing General and the Chief of Staff. These now comprised the Offices 
of the Inspector General and the Provost Marshal, the Executive Office 
of the Chief of Staff, and the Office of Technical Information. The 
Operations Division contained the following branches: Control 
(moved back from the Executive Office), Executive, Movements, 
Plants (responsible for assembly and container plant operations), and 
Construction. In a later reorganization, Executive Branch was replaced 
by Documentation Branch. The names of these branches give an idea 
of the general functions exercised by Operations Division as the clear- 
inghouse and mainspring of all of the complicated co-ordination neces- 
sary to the carrying of supplies overland to the USSR. The workings of 
the process are shown in some detail later in this book where opera- 
tion of the ports and the railway is discussed, and that aspect of admin- 
istration is explained which shows what it meant to take a crate of 
canned fish from a ship lying in the Karun River and hand it over to 
the Soviet representatives where and when they wanted or needed it 
for the particular war needs wired to them from their commanders and 
supply experts responsible for provisioning the Eastern Front. Ship dis- 
charge, overland routing, and delivery were operational phases of the 
logistical process which affected the "ultimate consumer," the USSR, 
very closely; but these were in turn conditioned by the total flow of ton- 
nages to and through the Corridor. 

The flow to the Corridor was determined by allocations under the 
several Russian protocols. The rate of arrivals was subject to shipping 
and to the capacity of Corridor facilities at ports and for inland clear- 
ance. Calculations were based upon the collection and correct interpre- 


tation and prompt dissemination of statistics affecting capacities and 
operations. The Control Branch was responsible for the calculations 
which regulated an even flow of traffic and sought to utilize all avail- 
able equipment. For this purpose it maintained close liaison with the 
British, the Russians, the ports, and all the forwarding agencies. 7 A 
meeting was held bimonthly to determine the capacities of the ports, 
assembly plants, and transportation agencies. This meeting studied 
current operational activities, including the motive power and rolling 
stock of the railway; car utilization and turnaround; the effect of non- 
Russian-aid requirements on MRS, MTS, and UKCC ; the number of 
trucks and aircraft that could be assembled; and the number of ships 
that could be berthed and discharged in a month's time. Then Wash- 
ington was advised of the capacity so that the proper number of ships 
could be allocated. Those who attended the capacity meetings were the 
regional director, War Shipping Administration, a representative of 
the British Ministry of War Transport, and representatives of UKCC, 
British Movements, Baghdad, and British Movements, Tehran; and, 
for the U.S. Army, the assistant chief of staff for Operations, and repre- 
sentatives of Movements, Plant, and Control Branches, Operations 
Division, as well as of MRS, MTS, and the Office of the Petroleum 

Following the capacity meeting, a joint target meeting was held 
for the purpose of determining the maximum cargo that could be 
moved within the limits of the capacity of the Corridor. The arrival of 
ships and the available cargo in storage areas (backlog) had to be con- 
sidered because these factors would affect the size of the target. If ships 
scheduled to arrive in a certain month were delayed, the target would 
be greater if there was a sufficient backlog available for forwarding 
than if the storage areas were nearly empty. In addition to the repre- 
sentatives of British and American agencies who attended the capacity 
meetings, the USSR had the following representatives at the target 
meetings : the chief of the Soviet Transportation Commission, the chief 
of Iransovtrans, and two other Soviet transport experts. Each agency 
presented a report at these meetings. 

The MRS furnished information on total capacity of the railroad 
already determined at the capacity meeting, along with estimates of 
the number of days' turnaround for freight cars in the USSR zone, 
monthly bulk fuel requirements for railway operations, and internal 
requirements for the Iranian civilian economy. The MTS reported its 
capacity as determined at the capacity meeting. The petroleum adviser 

' The following material on capacity and target meetings is paraphrased from the Control 
Franch History cited note l(7d). 


acted in a supervisory capacity concerning the requirements and com- 
mitments of the U.S. Army, the USSR, the local civilian economy, 
and various transport agencies, for petroleum products. The assistant 
chief of staff for Operations was chairman of the meeting and exercised 
staff responsibility for the whole program. His Control Branch was 
responsible for co-ordinating, analyzing, and assembling all informa- 
tion pertaining to the target figure. His Movements Branch analyzed 
all traffic operations through the Corridor. His Plants Branch furnished 
information on the number of trucks and aircraft arriving, and being 
assembled, and the amount of cargo the assembled motor vehicles 
could carry north. The British representatives were responsible for esti- 
mating the tonnage of petroleum and wheat products to be moved and 
for indicating how they should be transported to their destinations. In 
addition, they supplied information on total Iranian civil and British 
military needs. The Soviet representatives s were responsible for accept- 
ing all USSR cargo moving through the Corridor, and for forwarding 
it into the USSR. In the process of establishing the monthly target, their 
requests and suggestions were fundamental to the task. Much lengthy 
discussion at these meetings was bypassed by previous exchange of in- 
formation by letter. Informal meetings were also customary between 
Movements and Control Branches, the MRS, MTS, and British Army 

The procedure just outlined may be taken as the average; it does 
not necessarily represent the way things were literally done at any given 
period. It was a device made as simple and efficient as the cumbersome 
circumstances permitted; but it took a lot of paper, and a lot of desks 
and filing cabinets to make it work. The general outlines assumed by 
Operations Division in the March 1943 reorganization, when it drew 
together many functions hitherto scattered, were refined and modified 
in succeeding reorganizations; but the machine itself proved to have 
attained workable form very early in the history of the command. 

A reorganization of November 1943 produced quite a shuffle. The 
provost marshal went from the level of the commanding general's group 
of offices to the general staff level, and was replaced at the commanding 
general's level by the petroleum adviser. Fiscal matters were separated 
from the Administration Division and made into a Fiscal Division of 
the general staff. On the operating level, Ports Service reappeared on 

■ From 1 November 1 942 the Russians maintained at Tehran a representative of the 
Peoples' Commissariats of Internal and Foreign Affairs under whom Iransovtrans functioned. 
This official was initially Engineer Colonel Zorin, whose deputy for the south of Iran was 
Lt. Col. Michail F, Lengnik. These officers were the supreme authorities on the Soviet side 
for the transportation of goods to the USSR. Ltr, Zorin to Hq, PGSC, 31 Oct 42. AG 400, 
Hq PGC. 


the charts with the three other services (MRS, MTS, Signal) but was 
connected through dual command to Gulf District. It was generally 
felt 9 that by the middle of 1944 the structure of the command had 
evolved into a smooth-running machine, and the absence of that sort of 
acute administrative jitters which gave birth to the word snafu was 
marked. The chart of the October 1944 reorganization therefore crys- 
tallizes the blueprint for the machine whose performance in moving 
supplies to Russia reached its peak in that year. Only the Offices of the 
Inspector General and of Technical Information remained directly at- 
tached to the commanding general; a special staff was created to in- 
clude the Offices of the Executive Officer, the Petroleum Adviser, the 
Provost Marshal, and the Headquarters Commandant ; and, as indica- 
tion of the prominence now given to the increasing activities of the Air 
Transport Command in the area, the special staff included an air offi- 
cer. The general staff divisions remained at four ; but the Fiscal Division 
had grown as the complex functions of finance had grown. It now con- 
sisted of a big headquarters office at Tehran, and thirteen field 
branches. Operations Division, with its five branches (Control, Move- 
ments, Plants, Documentation, and Construction), now possessed 
eleven field offices. 

The reorganization of December 1944 reflects the passing of the 
peak work load for the command and the beginning of reduction of 
the administrative machine, especially in the territorial areas. Of these, 
only the Mountain District, now called Tehran Area, remained. Gulf 
affairs were absorbed partly by Ports Service, partly by assumption of 
functions by Operations Division. Administrative services, formerly 
handled in rather complicated fashion for MRS by the several terri- 
torial areas through which the rail line passed, were now assigned to 
the single MRS directorate to carry on under more unified control. 
Desert District had disappeared to be replaced by a more restricted 
Andimeshk Area. This tendency to eliminate the full headquarters ap- 
paratus for the territorial areas and to amalgamate their functions with 
those of local posts continued in the February 1945 reorganization, 
which shows Mountain District affairs handled by Amirabad Post, and 
Desert District affairs by Andimeshk Post, no longer regarded as an 

The March chart is unchanged from February, save for the appear- 
ance on the special staff of a liquidation commissioner, a reflection of 
the vast task that lay ahead when the job would be done and installa- 
tions and equipment to the value of tens of millions of dollars would 

' Interv cited n. 4(3). 


have to be disposed of. After March 1945, the process of contraction 
continued as military strength was reduced and projects were finished 
or abandoned. 

In a memorandum for staff divisions and directors of operating 
services at the time of the December 1944 reorganization, the chief of 
staff, then General Booth, noted that the new plan "has been predicated 
upon the assumption that the elimination of Districts would effect an 
appreciable saving in overhead personnel." 10 This was not the first 
allusion to be made to the overmanning of the administrative side in 
the building of the machine. A report made by the Plans and Training 
Branch, Operations Division, as early as May 1943, developed the esti- 
mate that, according to planned disposition of personnel, present and 
to come, "Out of a total of 1,522 officers slated for duty in the PGSC, 
44.5% are to be engaged in administrative, staff and supply duties, 
while 55.5% are to be actually engaged in the 'Aid-to-Russia' program. 
Considering all personnel, officers and enlisted men, 36.3% are to be 
engaged in administrative, staff and supply duties, while 63.7% will be 
engaged in the primary mission of the command." u Although this re- 
port recommended economy in future administrative planning for utili- 
zation of manpower, economy was not always achieved, - and in the 
over-all structure of the command, perhaps the feature most vulnerable 
to overmanning was that of the administrative territorial subareas. 

The Districts 

When Colonel Shingler set up his geographical subareas in Septem- 
ber 1942, the chief motive was to provide American opposite numbers 
for the British officials with whom the Americans had to deal in mat- 
ters of local procurement and local maintenance of their projects. 
Because of the small size of the American command and the limited 
nature of American responsibilities for construction and assembly 
operations, these local transactions were vital to the welfare of the 
projects and required the elimination of any delay in obtaining de- 
cisions such as had taken place when varieties of local requests from 
un-co-ordinated field agencies had to be processed. The areas provided 
the needed co-ordination. The new American command, however, was 
designed to be self-sufficient, and was big enough to maintain local 
offices able to take care of its local needs without the intervention of 
established British agencies, many of which, with the enlargement of 

"Memo, Booth for all Stf Divs and Dirs of Servs, 12 Dec 44, sub: Reorganization 
of the PGC. PGF 240. Another copy 323.361 Powers and Duties, SL 9008. 

" Memo, Capt Robert M. Wilbur, Chief, Plans Sec, Plans and Training Br, for Col 
Osborne, ACofS, Opns, 20 May 43, sub: Troop Disposition in PGSC. PGF 240. 




1942- 1945 

MAP 3 

The area of Gulf District included all of Iraq and the south shore of the Gulf, 
The district was previously known as Southwestern Area and as Basra District. Its 
headquarters was moved from Basra to Khorramshahr in May 1943. 

Desert District was first called Central Area, then Ahwaz Service District. Its 
headquarters was moved from Ahwaz to Andirneshk in November 1943. 

Mountain District, whose headquarters was always at Tehran, was organized 
first as Northern Area, then redesignated Tehran District, 

Zahidan was to have been the headquarters of an Eastern Area which was 
never activated, 

the American force, had reduced their own numbers. During the plan- 
ning period in Washington for the new command it had been expected 
that the pattern of the U.S. corps area, or service command, would be 
followed and that the several field operating services would be respon- 
sible for their own field maintenance. After his arrival in the field, 
however, General Connolly realized that the diverse sorts of personnel 
{stevedores, truck drivers, railroad men, signals technicians, construe- 


tion men) and their far-flung activities called for a uniform administra- 
tive and supply system for their maintenance. Accordingly, after a brief 
period in which the old Shingler areas were left undisturbed, their 
duties were modified in November, and in December they were rede- 
signated and reorganized. 12 The function of the new districts was 
defined as follows by General Order 1 1 : 

Districts are organized for the purpose of decentralizing administration, house- 
keeping, and construction functions within designated geographical areas. The 
District Headquarters are sub-headquarters of the Central Headquarters, Persian 
Gulf Service Command, and, as such, report directly to the Commanding General. 
The District Commanders do not exercise command over the units assigned to 
Services and Divisions. They will, however, exercise control over general admin- 
istration, housekeeping, hospitalization, housing, and general supply for all 
establishments within their jurisdiction. Their responsibilities will also include 
internal security, labor relations, local procurement of supplies and services as 
authorized by the Commanding General, all operating under general policies 
promulgated by the parent staff division of General Headquarters. . . . 

Services are operating units with definite responsibilities. The districts are 
organized to facilitate the operations of the services; they have no control over 
the employment of units not specifically assigned to them. The District functions 
best when it renders greatest service to the units operating in its territory. 

That was the theory: the district commander, as deputy of the 
commanding general in his own area, co-ordinated the activities of the 
several operating agencies within his area, applying to this duty the 
general policies laid down by the general staff divisions. Although the 
district commander had no control over the targets and schedules of 
the operating services, he was empowered to settle any disputes among 
them which might arise within his district, and to reconcile conflicting 
requisitions which might pass through his headquarters. At no time in 
the history of the districts did the operating services feel it necessary 
to appeal to the commanding general the decision of a district com- 
mander. 13 Beyond maintaining, training, and disciplining the troops 
within their areas, providing local security, and co-ordinating opera- 
tions, the district commanders came in time to exercise important 
operating responsibilities of their own. In this respect the general theory 
of the subcommands was stretched rather far. 

The instructions given district commanders in November 1942 had 
exempted them from responsibility for construction, which was to be 
performed throughout the command by one of the then existing operat- 
ing services, the Construction Service. The Construction Service was 
abolished in the reorganization of March 1943 and its purely planning, 

" By GO's 11 and 1 3, Hq, PGSC, 1 7 and 2 1 Dec 42. 

"Statement by General Booth cited by Victor Pentlarge in Annex cited note l(7a). 


standard-setting, and policy functions transferred to Operations Divi- 
sion of the general staff at Tehran. Even before this, General Order 1 1 
had in December 1942 foreshadowed the coming decentralization of 
construction responsibilities by assigning to the Ahwaz District, in 
which lay the headquarters of the Iranian District engineer, all con- 
struction duties for building at the ports, which lay in Basra District. 
In May, the districts were made responsible for all new construction 
within their boundaries authorized by GHQ. 14 The other important 
direct operating responsibility laid upon these nominally administra- 
tive agencies was that for the running of the aircraft, motor vehicle, 
barge, and container plants. As the Construction Branch, Operations 
Division, formulated policy and exercised general supervision over con- 
struction within the several districts, so at first the Supply Division, and 
later Plants Branch, Operations Division, acted in behalf of these other 

One factor in the manning of the district headquarters organiza- 
tions makes it difficult to determine the extent of their drain on the 
available pool of manpower in a command whose primary duty was 
movement of supplies. With their separate staff sections and organiza- 
tion charts patterned after GHQ, the districts constituted a sort of 
superimposition, administratively, of Pelion upon Ossa. The difficulty 
arises from the fact that a considerable proportion of the headquarters 
staffs of most of the districts were manned by officers and men who 
belonged to operating services at work in the area. It has been estimated 
that 350 persons staffed the three district headquarters at their maxi- 
mum, and of these many were also performing operational work at the 
same time. 15 Yet it must be realized that any headquarters with a full 
staff has more work for some members than for others, and that some 
duties of a headquarters nature are nominal. Furthermore, a headquar- 
ters must provide for its own maintenance, and this can mushroom into 
a variety of service units which must be provisioned, housed, paid, and 
accounted for — with the usual paper work and clatter of typewriters. 
At the start, the district organizations were necessary to handle tasks 
impossible for the operating services to perform for themselves, and to 

" (1) GO 30, Hq, PGSC, 15 May 43. Subsequent changes in the powers and duties of 
the districts may be traced in: GO's, Hq, PGSC, 31, 16 May 43, 37, 18 Jun 43, 42, 8 Jul 43, 
and 51, 25 Aug 43; also GO's, Hq, PGC, 1, 5 Jan 44, and 51, and Memo, Col Graham, 
Actg CofS, for CO's of Gulf, Desert, and Mountain Dists, 6 Jan 44, sub: Reorganization 
of Districts, Posts, Camps, and Stations. PGF 240. See also the Pentlarge Annex, cited note 
l(7a), which incorporates interviews with Colonel Martin, 11 April 1946, and Generals 
Shingler, 22 April 1946, Booth, 11 April 1946, and Scott, 22 March 1946. (2) The evolution 
of administration of construction is treated in Chapter XII below. 

" Pentlarge, after interview with Colonel Martin, formerly executive officer to the chief 
of staff, cited note 14(1). 


provide uniformity of standards and economies in administration. As 
time went on, however, the larger posts within the districts became 
familiar with the work of the districts and therefore could, theoretically, 
have supplanted the district organizations. This process occurred in a 
few instances even before the contraction in command organization set 
in ; but its general application was delayed beyond the time, stated to 
have been any time after July 1944, when it could, theoretically, have 
occurred. Posts did not wholly supplant the district organizations until 
January 1945. 18 Perhaps the outstanding example of overstaffing of this 
sort was the Mountain District headquarters, located at Camp Amira- 
bad right next door to GHQ itself. Its function was the administration 
of the immediate vicinity of GHQ, and yet there was GHQ, and there 
also was the headquarters staff of Camp Amirabad. In January 1945 
this anomaly was righted by the abolition of Mountain District. 

The question whether the virtues of the district system outweighed 
its defects would require, for answer, detailed examination of a mass 
of evidence. When it is considered that the districts provided decentral- 
ized administration for widely disparate operations extending over an 
area as large as Texas and California combined, and that structural 
organization necessarily reflects the complexity of the function it is 
designed to execute, the conclusion is unavoidable that, although the 
districts were expensive in terms of manpower, they contributed to the 
accomplishment of the American mission. The whole matter of the ad- 
ministrative machine cannot justly be judged as one would measure the 
time studies of a long-established chain-store system whose operations 
have been streamlined by efficiency experts. 

Evolution of the Persian Gulf Command 

The rearrangements in the internal structure of the command, 
which were required to accomplish its increased functions, were accom- 
panied by a readjustment of its administrative and command relation- 
ships to headquarters of USAFIME at Cairo. Of the three chief pieces 
of unfinished business left by the SOS Plan and the directive of the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff, that of the independence of the new Ameri- 
can command in the Persian Corridor was the thorniest. The other two 
dangling compromises of September 1942 — the control of movements 
(whether to be British, as hitherto, or American ) and security for opera- 
tions — depended in no small measure for their resolution upon the 

a Interv cited n. 4(3). 


ability of the American command at Tehran to act authoritatively and 
promptly without recourse to echelons imposed between itself and 

When the PGSC was so designated in August 1942, as a part of 
the unification of the U.S. Middle East theater, it was directly under 
the commanding general of USAFIME, General Maxwell. This was 
still its status when Connolly supplanted Shingler on 20 October. But 
when General Andrews relieved General Maxwell on 4 November 1942 
and Maxwell became Commanding General, SOS, USAFIME, the 
PGSC dropped one rung further down the ladder of command and 
found itself designated as one of the service commands of USAFIME 
along with the Eritrea, Delta, and Levant service commands, with none 
of whose tasks or problems it had anything in common whatsoever, 
either qualitatively or quantitatively. The subsequent ascent up the 
ladder toward independent command lasted just over one year, during 
which time, although there was a steady drift toward Tehran's auton- 
omy, command responsibility for the increasingly complex job in Iran 
rested in Cairo, more than a thousand miles away. 

General Connolly's Letter of Instructions of 1 October 1942 had 
placed him under the "administrative supervision" of the commanding 
general of USAFIME and this phrase was subject to varying inter- 
pretations by Maxwell and Connolly. When General Marshall issued 
his Letter of Instructions of 24 October to General Andrews it was 
explained that "administrative supervision" meant "command" and 
Andrews was instructed to exercise all the prerogatives of a commander 
over PGSC. 17 This tightening of the grip of Cairo was followed, after 
the early November changes at USAFIME headquarters, by General 
Maxwell's calling for "a multiplicity of detailed reports" from PGSC 
and issuing "a lot of instructions, the gist of which was that nearly 
everything had to be approved in Cairo before action could be taken." 
As General Connolly put it, "We were tied hand and foot as far as 
getting anything done was concerned." x8 Although the mission of 
PGSC was now very different from the earlier mission under Colonel 
Shingler, administrative procedures suffered as they had earlier when 
it sometimes took as long as three weeks for PGSC to get a reply from 
Cairo on pending matters. 19 In the important field of direct negotiations 
between the American command and the British there was a seeming 

"Ltr of Instructions, Marshall to Andrews, 24 Oct 42. OPD 384 ME (10-24^4-2). 
18 Ltr, Connolly to Somervell, 20 Dec 42. Abstract PGF 262. 

11 Interv with Lt Col Philip C. Kidd, G-5 AMET, at Cairo, 6 Jul 45, citing Shingler's 
authority for the statement. 


contradiction between Connolly's instructions and the views held by 
Maxwell in Cairo. Connolly's instructions permitted him to deal di- 
rectly with the British, Iranians, and Russians on all matters not requir- 
ing diplomatic channels, provided Cairo was informed and provided 
this information was furnished in accordance with instructions emanat- 
ing from Cairo. Difference in interpretation of the Washington instruc- 
tions in this respect was resolved when Maxwell informed Connolly on 
14 November that by agreement between American and British head- 
quarters at Cairo, liaison between PGSC and PAI Force would hence- 
forth be made directly between Connolly and General Wilson. 20 But 
the larger question of command relationship remained for solution. 

On 12 December General Andrews, accompanied by his staff, went 
to Basra on the first official visit to the Corridor on strictly theater busi- 
ness made by a commander of USAFIME since the unification of the 
previous June. 21 As a result of conferences between Andrews and Con- 
nolly, agreement was reached to relieve PGSC from assignment to SOS, 
USAFIME, and to put it directly under the commanding general. 
Connolly wrote Andrews, after the latter's return to Cairo, "The pro- 
posed change will in my opinion clear up the confusion which now exists 
and will greatly facilitate the operations of this command. . . . Your 
trip over here has had a marked influence on morale, indicating to the 
personnel that you consider the work they are doing to be important to 
the war effort." To General Somervell, Connolly wrote, "Our relations 
with Cairo have been cleared up." 22 It would have been perhaps more 
accurate to have said that they had been clarified ; for although General 
Andrews' proposed action was to begin a new period of greater au- 
tonomy, it did not bring independence. 

The first step toward autonomy was formalized by the issuance on 
20 January 1943 of a clarifying directive to Connolly from Cairo. It 
provided that he could henceforth requisition directly upon the War 
Department ; it delegated to him authority to represent the Command- 
ing General, USAFIME, in negotiations with the British, Irani, and 
Iraqi representatives, with final authority reposing in Connolly for all 
matters not requiring diplomatic channels; and it empowered him to 
procure personnel beyond that already authorized to go through 
USAFIME, as well as to submit recommendations for promotions. 
Connolly was authorized to undertake any construction necessary to 

" Ltr, Maxwell to Connolly, 14 Nov 42. PGF 259. 

a General Maxwell had passed through in August 1942 with Averell Harriman en route to 

a ( 1 ) Ltr, Connolly to Andrews, 20 Dec 42. Abstract PGF 262. (2) Ltr cited n. 18. 


accomplish his mission but to obtain approval from Cairo for all other 
construction. 23 

Beyond this point the further evolution of PGSC toward inde- 
pendence of command became involved with the twin questions of 
intelligence activities and security responsibilities. Here the basic point 
at issue was whether the carrying on of routine intelligence activities by 
the American command was consistent with its primary mission of 
delivering supplies to the USSR. It had been assumed in the planning 
period at Washington that, as Averell Harriman put it to the Strategic 
Planning Division, SOS, the new command ought to possess "a good 
G-2 in the headquarters [to] keep in touch with the military situation 
and also with the sabotage situation." 24 Accordingly a supplementary 
Letter of Instructions had been issued to General Connolly on 21 Oc- 
tober 1942 by Maj. Gen. George V. Strong, G-2, War Department, 
placing under Connolly's command all War Department intelligence 
personnel in Iran and Iraq and on the southern shores of the Persian 
Gulf and the Gulf of Oman ; their selection, location, transfer, and ad- 
ministration to be determined by the War Department. 25 

On 26 March 1943 General Connolly sent the following message 
to General Marshall : 

Supplemental letter of instructions . . . charges this command with responsi- 
bility for War Department intelligence for this theater. Experience has shown that 
this is not compatible with my primary mission and Russians very suspicious of our 
G-2 activities since they see no need for such activities in furthering our mission. 
This suspicion of our motives is hampering our obtaining the operational data we 
must have in order to carry out efficiently our primary mission. As our operations 
increase in volume it will become of even greater importance that the Russians 
have confidence in our sincerity of purpose. Under decision of the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff, British have full responsibility for security our operations south of 
the vicinity of Tehran inclusive, which necessarily includes collection of necessary 
intelligence. If the situation ever develops that we do any operating north of the 
vicinity of Tehran 26 Russians will have full responsibility for security. Thus the 
PGSC as such has no need for military intelligence. 27 

13 ( 1 ) Directive, CG, USAFIME, to Connolly, 20 Jan 43, sub : Operation of PGSC. 
PGF 240. (2) GO 6, Hq, USAFIME, 20 Jan 42. (3) These orders were issued in the name 
of General Brereton who was Commanding General, USAFIME, from 31 January to 5 
September 1943. GO 8, Hq, USAFIME, 31 Jan 43; WD GO 59, 5 Sep 43. General Andrews 
left Cairo on 30 January to go to England to take over from General Eisenhower command 
of U.S. forces in the European Theater of Operations. Andrews was killed in an air crash 
in Iceland 3 Mav 1943. (4) General Maxwell was relieved by General Crawford on 18 March 
1943. 1st Ind,Ltr G-2, 18 Mar 43. AG 350.05 (3-14-43) Hq AMET. 

"Memo, Col Elliott for Somervell, 4 Sep 42. SOS Plan, Copy Contl Div, ASF, Sp 

"Strong to Connolly, Supplement to Ltr of Instructions: Mil Intelligence Instructions, 
21 Oct 42. MID 904 (10-21^2), OPD Registered Documents Room. 

" It never did. 

*" Rad AGWAR 689 TN-2640, Connolly to Marshall, 26 Mar 43. 384 Conduct of War, 
SL 9016. Another copy AG 371.2 (2 Apr 42-1 Nov 44) Hq AMET. 


Operations Division, Washington, promptly revoked the supple- 
mentary Letter of Instructions, and effective 1 May the Intelligence 
Division of General Connolly's general staff was dissolved, and all mili- 
tary intelligence functions of the American command abolished save 
only map procurement and distribution, and censorship. These func- 
tions were assigned to the provost marshal. As a part of this sweeping 
gesture of friendly compliance with Russian desires, all intelligence 
offices in the various district headquarters were likewise abolished. 2 * 
Although this decisive action removed from Connolly responsi- 
bility for intelligence activities while his command remained subordi- 
nate to Cairo, the feeling in Washington that such responsibility 
properly belonged to an independent theater commander again made 
the question an issue in the negotiations to separate Tehran from Cairo, 
for Connolly remained unwilling, even as a theater commander, to 
worry the Russians by sponsoring an intelligence division. When Maj. 
Gen. W. D. Styer, Chief of Staff, ASF, passed through Tehran in 
June en route to the China-Burma-India theater, he and General 
Connolly discussed the status of PGSC and the efficiencies that might 
be obtained through independence of Cairo. As a result of Styer's 
report to Washington of this discussion, General Marshall informed 
Connolly that "it is believed administrative delays due to distance from 
Cairo can be reduced considerably by delegation to your headquarters 
of further powers to which the Commanding General, USAFIME 
may be agreeable." What followed was a delegation of power to Con- 
nolly to make contracts ; to return officers and enlisted men to the zone 
of the interior; to reclassify, promote, and appoint officers; and to 
exercise the power to review conferred on theater commanders by War 
Department Circular 21 of 15 January 1943. 28 But Washington still 
believed that if PGSC were established as an independent theater, it 
should possess an intelligence division. At a conference at Cairo later 
in the summer Connolly is reported to have said that "any high- 
powered G-2 activities under his jurisdiction would interfere with his 

"(1) Rad, Gen Handy to Gen Connolly, 3 Apr 43. OPD 617 Persia (3-26-43). 

(2) GO 26, Hq, PGSC, 30 Apr 43. (3) General Wedemeyer, reporting to General Marshall 
on a visit to the PGSC very early in 1943, said: "Connolly is accomplishing difficult objectives 
without fanfare. Good judgment, hard work, and tact all mark his approach to solution 
of problems involving other nationals. He definitely has their respect and may be expected 
to gain increasingly their co-operation." Rad, Wedemeyer to Marshall, signed Brig. Gen. 
Clayton L. Bissell, from New Delhi to AGWAR, 2 Feb 43. CM-IN 11 02 (3 Feb 43). 

" (1) Rad AMPSC 989, Marshall to Connolly, 28 Jun 43. 384 Conduct of War, SL 9016. 

(2) Rad, Connolly to Brereton, 1 Jul 43. Same file. (3) Rad AMSME 748-P, Brereton 
to Connolly, 18 Jul 43. Same file. (4) Rad AMSME 649-P, Brereton to Connolly, 29 Jun 43. 
PGF 248. (5) Rad AMPSC 1175, Marshall to Brereton, 28 Jul 43. 323.361 Powers and 
Duties (General), SL 9008. 


primary mission, that is, the supply of equipment to the Russians." M 
Washington decided to leave the question of independent command in 
abeyance inasmuch as Brereton, who had succeeded Andrews, was 
shortly to be relieved as Commanding General, USAFIME. 31 

The new USAFIME commander, Maj. Gen. Ralph Royce, took 
over on 10 September. As a result of correspondence and personal con- 
sultation between Royce and Connolly over the following months, and 
of consultations with high officials from Washington who came to 
Tehran for the three-power conference held there from 28 November 
to 1 December, a new Letter of Instructions was issued by General 
Marshall to General Connolly under date of 10 December 1943. 32 

Effective that date, the new Persian Gulf Command (PGC) became 
directly responsible to the War Department through OPD. The mis- 
sion of the command was broadly worded. It was "to further the 
objective of the United States in the prosecution of the war." Primary 
was the continuance of the task imposed by CCS 109/1. In addition, 
the Commanding General, PGC, was to co-ordinate American activi- 
ties under his command with those of other United Nations; to direct 
and control representation of the War Department in dealings with 
friendly governments in all matters not requiring diplomatic channels ; 
to carry on supply activities, and all Army Air Forces activities except 
the Air Transport Command; and to exercise the usual powers and 
perform the usual administrative duties of a theater commander. 
Although the whole area of Saudi Arabia was reserved to USAFIME, 
it was provided that the Commanding General, USAFIME, might 
delegate to the Commanding General, PGC, construction activities by 
the U.S. Army "in the eastern part of that country," as well as the 
representation of the War Department in negotiations or other actions 
pertaining to the development or production of petroleum products 
by U.S. interests in eastern Saudi Arabia. 33 In continued deference to 
the wishes of the Russians, only such intelligence activity was author- 
ized as was necessary to the security of the new command and this was 
carried on as a part of the routine work of the provost marshal. The 

"Ltr, Brig Gen Gilbert X. Cheves (who relieved Crawford as CG, SOS, USAFIME, 
on 25 Jun) to Gen Styer, 21 Aug 43. SP 323.31 (7-26-43) (1) Opns Br, AGO. 

"Rad AMPSC 1379, Marshall to Brereton and Connolly, 1 Sep 43. PGF 248. 

" (1) Ltr of Instructions, Marshall to Connolly, 10 Dec 43. PGF 248. Other copies 
323.361 General Connolly's Letter of Instructions with Amendments, SL 9008, and SP 
323.31 (7-26-43) (1) Opns Br, AGO. (2) Memo, Marshall, 10 Dec 43, sub: Establishment 
of PGC. 323.361 Powers and Duties (General), SL 9008. This file also contains radios, 
memoranda, and drafts of proposed instructions drawn up by Connolly and Royce for for- 
warding to the Chief of Staff, Washington. 

"Both were delegated by letter, Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. Giles (who relieved Royce at 
Cairo on 10 March 1944) to Connolly, 13 June 1944. Abstract PGF 262. 


PGC did not set up a G-2 division, and General Connolly exercised 
intelligence responsibility only for such investigations as pertained to 
the safety of American operations in moving supplies to the Soviet 
receiving points. 

With the command relationship to Cairo thus settled, PGC settled 
down to devote its energies directly, and without the administrative 
complexities inherent in the earlier command structure, to its primary 
mission. The year 1944, which produced peak deliveries to the USSR, 
saw also the rounding out of the administrative machine. On 24 
December General Connolly was relieved as Commanding General, 
PGC, in order to become deputy commissioner of the Army-Navy 
Liquidation Commission at Washington. He was to return to the Cor- 
ridor a year later to serve briefly as director of Foreign Liquidation. 

Succeeding Connolly as commanding general was General Booth, 
an engineer graduate of West Point (1926) who, like Connolly and 
Scott, had seen service in district engineer work in the United States, 
particularly at Rock Island, Illinois, and at Seattle. He came to the 
command of PGC via the posts of Ports Service director, commander 
of Basra District, director of Operations Division, and chief of staff." 
Following General Booth as chief of staff was Col. Samuel M. Thomas, 
who had come into the Corps of Engineers through the Officers' Re- 
serve Corps, and whose specialized training included courses at the 
Army Signal Corps School and the Command and General Staff School. 
He served as director of the Signal Service from his arrival in the Cor- 
ridor late in 1942 to his assignment as chief of staff in January 1945. 
When Thomas, then a brigadier general, was ordered to the United 
States in July 1945 he was succeeded as chief of staff by Col. Gustav 
A. M. Anderson. Anderson had served in the command as director of 
the MTS, commanding officer of the Mountain District until its inac- 
tivation, and assistant chief of staff for Administration. When General 
Booth was ordered to the United States in August 1945, Colonel Ander- 
son became Commanding Officer, PGC, and saw the American effort 
in the Persian Corridor through to the end. His chief of staff was Lt. Col. 
Edwin B. Woodworth. 35 

"Booth relieved Scott as chief of staff on 29 February 1944. Abstract PGF 262. 

" (1) Connolly served briefly as Commanding General, USAFIME, from 5 September 
1943 to 10 September 1943, when Royce relieved him. WD GO 59, 5 Sep 43, and GO 23, Hq, 
USAFIME, 10 Sep 43. (2) GO 89, Hq, PGC, 24 Dec 44. (3) Key Personnel. PGF 246. 
(4) GO 78, Hq, PGC, 15 Jul 45. (5) Rad, CO, PGC, to CG's, USFET [and] AMET, 15 
Aug 45, abstract PGF 262, and GO 93, Hq, PGC, 15 Aug 45. The wind-up of the command 
is told in Ch. XIX below. 


Division of Responsibility With the British 

To the extent that structural organization provides the means for 
executing function, the structure of the American command and its 
status with regard to USAFIME headquarters at Cairo were both sub- 
ject to the status of American responsibilities relative to the controlling 
British powers and duties. The SOS Plan provided a definition of 
American functions and a suggested skeletal organization. The direc- 
tive of the Combined Chiefs defined the continuing duties of the British 
under the Tri-Partite Treaty. It was left to the British and American 
commanders in the field to work out the problem of fitting the new 
American command and its functions into the framework of these 
British responsibilities. 

Accordingly, during the early months in which the newly arrived 
American service troops were taking over certain British functions 
assigned by CCS 109/1, British and American headquarters were 
studying the problem. It was soon apparent that the central aspect of 
the problem of meshing the activity of the two commands was control 
of movements. This was the governor of the machine, the means by 
which the whole process of discharge of cargo at the ports, allocation 
of traffic, and inland clearance was regulated. At a meeting held at 
Tehran on 7 April 1943 a joint agreement for the control of move- 
ments in Iran was signed, to become effective when PGSC was ready to 
take over movements responsibility. On 21 April, PGSC notified PAI 
Force that the American command would be ready to take over on 1 
May; and from that date Movements Branch, Operations Division, 
assumed responsibility for controls to be exercised within the over-all 
responsibility of the British, 38 This aspect of the agreement, whereby 
one party retained the last word while delegating actual authority to 
the other party, marks the highest and most difficult achievement in 
the Persian Corridor experiment in co-operation. Only a high degree 
of tolerance between the partners in so complex an intermeshing of 
prerogatives could have assured the successful operation of the agreed 

The joint agreement began by restating British responsibility for 

" (1) Joint Agreement between Persia and Iraq Forces and the Persian Gulf Service 
Command for the Control of Movements in Persia, 7 Apr 43. 323.361 General Connolly's 
Letter of Instructions with Amendments, SL 9008. Another copy 092.2 Treaties and Agree- 
ments, SL 8978. Appendixes A and B cover the constitution and functions of the monthly 
capacity and target meetings; Appendix C deals with priorities; and Appendix D covers the 
respective responsibilities of the PAI Force and PGSC Movements staffs. (2) Hist Rpt, 
Movements Br, Opns Div, Hq, PGSC, 16 May 43, p. 4. PGF 126-D. (3) Rad AGWAR 
2894, Connolly to Marshall for Spalding info Harriman, 1 Nov 43 (summarizing Anglo- 
American responsibilities). 384 Conduct of War, SL 9016. 


internal security; for providing all possible assistance to insure the 
maximum of aid to Russia ; and for the control of priorities of traffic in 
Iran. The American responsibility for delivery of maximum tonnage 
to the USSR was also restated. Under the first point, internal security, 
British responsibility entailed provision "of such garrisons in Persia as 
may be considered necessary; the maintenance of the food and fuel 
requirements of the civilian population; and of the requirements of 
essential industries." British logistical responsibility, under the second 
point, was defined as embracing the discharge of goods at Iraqi ports 
and their carriage over the line of communications through Iraq ; the 
provision of port lighterage and inland water transport on the Karun 
River; the provision of military or UKCC motor transport over the 
Khanaqin Lift; and undertaking the improvement and maintenance 
of road communications with such American assistance as might be 
decided upon jointly between the parties to the agreement. Under the 
third point, over-all British responsibility for priorities was to be exer- 
cised through the machinery of the monthly target and capacity meet- 
ings which were held under American chairmanship; and priorities 
for movement of British military and essential civil traffic would be re- 
quested by British Movements of the American command which would 
take the necessary action. The movement of American personnel, 
military freight, and aid-to-Russia tonnages was to be under American 
control. In the event that local agreement could not be reached between 
British and American representatives to accommodate demands for 
movement of British categories of traffic within the current capacities 
determined for aid-to-Russia tonnages, the matter was to be referred 
to GHQ, PAI Force. If a decision were rendered on that or any other 
matter by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, PAI Force, 
contrary to CCS 109/1, the Commanding General, PGSC, was 
authorized by his Letter of Instructions — in conformity with the terms 
of the Combined Chiefs' directive and instructions to General Wilson 
of PAI Force — to report the matter immediately through the U.S. 
Joint Chiefs to the Combined Chiefs. No such appeal was made at 
any time. 

The agreement assigned to the Americans authority over move- 
ments hitherto exercised by the British, except for movements required 
for British military personnel and stores, and essential civilian needs 
including oil. As the Americans were primarily concerned with aid-to- 
Russia movements, the arrangement left them effective control of the 
lion's share of inland clearance over their own line of communications 
from the Gulf to Soviet receiving points in the north, and it gave them 
also the right of fitting British requirements into the larger pattern, 


subject to appeal to British headquarters. Short of a grant of absolute 
authority, impossible to give an auxiliary force not an occupying power 
in Iran, this arrangement accomplished the necessary centralization 
of the chief means of traffic movement the lack of which had hitherto 
plagued the aid-to-Russia program in the Corridor. 

The joint agreement left the control of inland water transport in 
British hands, including the allocation of barges and lighters; but 
monthly capacity of barge lift was determined at the monthly capacity 
meeting at which the American voice was strong. Allocation of in- 
coming shipping as between ports in Iran and Iraq likewise remained 
with the Basra Transport Executive Committee, on which sat repre- 
sentatives of the British Ministry of War Transport, GHQ, PAI Force, 
the War Shipping Administration, the PGSC, and the USSR. At 
American-operated ports, British Movements was to be responsible 
only for arrangements connected with embarkation and disembarka- 
tion of British military and Polish personnel. At British-operated ports, 
the British were responsible for all documentation and handling of 
stores, including those for American and USSR account. On the ISR 
the British Movements staff was similarly responsible only for arrang- 
ing with the American staff for movement of British and Polish per- 
sonnel and stores, for essential civilian traffic, and for the necessary 
documentation for those movements. In motor transport, the American 
command was responsible for the co-ordination of its own truck fleets 
with those of UKCC and ultimately exercised complete control over 
all traffic on American highway routes, while British control pre- 
vailed in all respects over the uses to which British highway routes were 
to be put. The American command, in consultation with British Move- 
ments, was made responsible for obtaining disposal instructions and 
priorities from the Soviet authorities for all cargo destined for the 
USSR, and the Americans were to notify British Movements Control 
at Tehran of the instructions regarding Soviet cargo handled by the 
British through British-operated ports. 

The joint agreement was essentially a division of responsibility 
according to function. Each party retained authority for its internal 
necessities, and each received authority for those of its duties which 
may be called external: in the British case, for its obligations as an 
occupying power toward the Iranian civil population ; in the American 
case, for the movement of goods to Russia, which constituted the bulk 
of all movements in the region. Yet within the broadly defined and 
deafly distinguishable areas of responsibility, it is plain that the func- 
tioning of transport required, at almost every step, a close collaboration 
and a delicate balancing of prerogatives. In the process the wheels of 


the Anglo-American machine developed some friction. The Americans, 
for instance, chafed at British controls over inland water transport. 
But on the whole the control of movements remained the outstanding 
instance of successful co-operation. 

The joint agreement, while affirming British responsibility for in- 
ternal security, was not concerned in detail with that problem, beyond 
stating that the American command was responsible for guarding 
American traffic and for notifying British Movements Control when 
guards would be required for Soviet cargo. "The responsibility for 
providing required guards rests on British Movements." That was the 
theory, which, stated another way, provided that American security 
responsibility was confined to American installations other than those 
classified as direct aid-to-Russia installations, and to protection of 
cargoes solely for American military requirements. All other security 
responsibility was in the hands of the British. As defined by them this 

"The ports of Khorramshahr and Bandar-Gulf [Bandar Shahpur], American 
Aid-to-Russia plant at Abadan, the rail line of communications to Teheran, barge 
traffic on the Karun and Shatt-al-Arab rivers, vehicle traffic on the Khorram- 
shahr-Kazvin road route, also all installations on those routes used by the 
Americans for Aid-to-Russia traffic." 3T 

This was, in effect, a sweeping British assumption of security control 
over virtually the entire American effort in the Persian Corridor. Theo- 
retically, the arrangement was of advantage to the American command 
inasmuch as it relieved it of the necessity to provide large numbers of 
investigative and police personnel. Practically, because the British were 
physically unable to provide equivalent necessary police protection for 
the activities and installations included in their field of responsibility, 
the burden was divided, and that part of it which was borne by the 
American command was exercised by virtue of the security authority 
possessed by the British. The American provost marshal, Lt. Col. 
George P. Hill, Jr., estimated that to carry out their security obliga- 
tions properly, the British would have needed to double their military 
strength in all categories of troops. 38 But after Stalingrad the British 
removed the Tenth Army from the area and reduced military strength 
as much as possible. In view of the ever present problems of pilferage, 
theft, banditry, and the threat of sabotage to the railway and other in- 

" Report of Military Police Activities, PGC, United States Army, p. 11. PGF 130. This 
document of 132 pages and Appendix of 39 Items furnishes a thorough study of the American 
security problem. 

" Memo, Lt Col George P. Hill, Jr., for Provost Marshal General, Washington, 30 Apr 44, 
sub: Provost Marshal Activities, PGC. Item 1, App., Rpt cited n. 37. 


stallations, the Americans were forced into providing security measures 
of their own while relying at the same time upon the British. In general 
practice, British security forces were used for protection against tribal 
disturbances, banditry, and sabotage; American, for local guard duties. 
But even this division of labor was not so clear-cut as it sounds, for in 
practice it was not possible to draw a sharp distinction in the face of a 
situation calling for immediate action. In consequence — unlike the divi- 
sion of responsibility for movements control, which was reasonably dis- 
tinct and where lines of responsibility and command were clear — secu- 
rity problems were a source of constant, if usually minor, irritation 
between the British and American forces. Because of the primary re- 
sponsibility of the British in security matters American representatives 
were in a subordinate position at security conferences with British, 
Russian, and Iranian authorities. British officials made the final de- 
cisions in shaping policy, determining procedures, and defining the 
limits of responsibility. 

In this connection the provost marshal records : 

The British once refused to furnish guards for an oil storage tank along the 
railroad on the grounds that the oil was not intended for Russian consumption, 
although this storage constituted the principal source of gasoline supply for the 
Southern Division of our Motor Transport Service. Upon practically all occa- 
sions where questions of policy were discussed it became necessary for PGG to take 
the firmest possible stand to insure that the British did not use the loophole of 
definition to evade their full responsibility. 38 

Colonel Hill gives a further illustration of the embarrassments inherent 
in the American position : 

Too often U.S. requests for action have been treated with maddening delay 
and perfunctoriness. To give a specific example: An American truck was fired 
upon in the Gulf District by ruffians of a nomad tribe. The District Provost 
Marshal went out to investigate the incident and himself was fired upon. Military 
Police followed the camel tracks of the offenders to the entrance of their village, 
then reported the incident immediately to British security personnel. The British 
wasted three days consulting with their consul and conferring with one official 
and another over the question who should take action, British or Iranian authori- 
ties. By the time the issue was decided the nomads had trekked on beyond possi- 
bility of apprehension. It was a different story a few days later when another group 
of nomads fired upon a British colonel. An entire company of Punjabs raced to 
the scene and quickly captured the guilty parties. 

These incidents, typical of the sort of difficulty that arose because of 
the anomalous position the Americans held as nonoccupying-power 
nationals in Iran, illustrate that at its worst the vague division of re- 

' Page 12 of Rpt cited n. 37. 


sponsibility left the Americans unprotected, whereas at its best, the 
security situation functioned only through close and sympathetic co- 
operation by the Americans with the British but without command 
responsibility or control. The arrangement, unavoidable so long as the 
Combined Chiefs' directive imposed entire responsibility in PAI Force, 
was unfortunate, for it both failed to provide entirely satisfactory 
security for the American operations and created considerable ill 
feeling in the ranks. In the words of the provost marshal, "Anglophobia 
became a common disease of the American provost personnel." 

Although this situation was a fly in the ointment of generally satis- 
factory Anglo-American relations in the Corridor, it never endangered 
the effectiveness of operations in the area. If it had, the policy would 
have required review by the Combined Chiefs. The British proved 
entirely able to cope with the defense of the area, as was shown by their 
arrest in August 1943 of the celebrated German agent, Franz Mayer, 
chief of German intelligence in Iran, along with thirty-one of his ac- 
complices who were employed on the ISR. And the combined efforts 
of British, American, Soviet, and Iranian authorities succeeded in 
reducing looting and attacks upon trains and truck convoys to a mini- 
mum. It was only in its minor aspects that the situation proved more 
annoying than dangerous. 

Because of its adverse (if minor) effect upon the Anglo-American 
partnership, it may be wondered why the policy-makers, even if they 
failed to heed American warnings in the planning period and went 
ahead with the Combined Chief's plan, did not bring about some modi- 
fication which, while not called for through any distinct peril to the 
operations, would have eliminated a fruitful source of friction. For they 
were well and truly warned. In June 1942' Colonel Shingler, whose 
responsibilities, it will be recalled, were limited to construction and as- 
sembly projects for the British in the aid-to-Russia program, asked 
Washington for a military police unit for control of American soldiers, 
seamen, and civilians and for protection of U.S. equipment and as- 
sembly plants. Even at that time he noted that British protective meas- 
ures were "insufficient and sabotage [presented] serious problems." ** 
During the planning period immediately preceding adoption of the 
SOS Plan, General Strong presented a memorandum to General Som- 
ervell citing cables received from the American military attache at 
Tehran to the effect that British interest in the security of the ISR was 
very considerably less than the military attache thought it ought to be. 
One of these messages contained the statement, "I feel that in order 

" Rad 349, Shingler to AMSIR Wash, 15 Jun 42. PGF 236. 


to carry out our great program of shipping supplies through Iran . . . 
we must transcend the political policies of British rule in Iran." " 

Shingler did not get his MP's, and when the SOS Plan tables of 
organization were drawn up, they provided for one military police 
battalion and one military police company. After Connolly's arrival in 
the field, with the outcome of battle at Stalingrad still perilously un- 
certain, and a deterioration of economic, social, and political conditions 
in Iran, he, too, requested Washington to increase the number of MP 
units authorized or the new command. 42 On 11 December the 727th 
MP Battalion arrived with the first shipload of service troops. It was 
followed on 7 August 1943 by the 788th MP Battalion. As of 30 April 
1944 the eight companies of these two battalions, scattered in small de- 
tachments among seventeen locations in the command, were the only 
MP personnel under Connolly's command, and they were not of the 
first quality. 43 To assist them in their local duties, other men were drawn 
from operations and hastily trained. It was clearly Washington policy, 
in view of the British responsibility for security matters, to limit Ameri- 
can power in the Corridor to act in the same matters. And as time went 
on and certain annoyances developed, no one was willing to disturb the 
status quo. Security is an essential and inalienable function of military 
command, and military command in the Corridor south of Tehran, in 
all aspects which relied upon control of security measures, was British. 
Even if it had been possible, under the Tri-Partite Treaty, for the Brit- 
ish to designate areas over which they would delegate military authority 
to the American command, that delegation would have caused the 
right of the Americans to be present at all to be challenged by the other 
signatories to the treaty." Subordination in security matters was a part 
of the price the Americans paid to serve the Allied cause in the Persian 

"Memo, Strong for Somervell, 24 Aug 42, citing cables of 17 and 18 Jul 43. SOS 
Plan, Copy Contl Div, ASF, Sp Coll, HRS DRB AGO. 

" Rad, Connolly to Scott, 7 Nov 42. PGF 259. 

43 Rpt cited n. 37 and Memo cited n. 38. The provost marshal states in these documents 
that the 727th MP Battalion contained "castoffs of infantry and other arms and services . . ." 
and 15 percent limited service men; and that although the quality sent him in the 788th 
MP Battalion was better, 50 percent of the officers of both battalions "were not qualified to 
perform the duties of their grades." 

" As a matter of fact the question was raised anyhow by the Russians and Iranians. See 
Ch. XX below. 


The Machine at Work 

A Bird's-Eye View 

The machine conceived by the SOS planners and tentatively 
designed by General Connolly's advance field group was a multipurpose 
one. Not only did it have to take over and expand the assembly and 
construction projects already in existence, it had also to assume the 
transport responsibilities assigned by directive of the Combined Chiefs 
of Staff as the new command's primary mission. It had to be versatile 
enough to meet demands upon it as widely disparate as the conduct of 
negotiations with foreign representatives and the provision of water 
in the desert ; as varied as the operation of a railroad and the operation 
of a small station for changing truck tires high in a snowy mountain 
pass. The arrival of the first service troops in December 1942 set the 
machine in motion, a machine composed of men: American soldiers, 
the American civilians who remained during the transition from the 
contractor system to militarization, and, finally, the civilian army of 
natives whose labor and good will were indispensable to the success of 
the aid-to-Russia program. 1 

The first large troop shipment came to Khorramshahr after a 
voyage which began at New York on 1 November on the West Point 
and was continued, from Bombay, on British ships of smaller draft, 
the Rhona, the Lancashire, and the Dilwara? By the middle of 1943 the 
military strength of the command approached the maximum assigned 
strength of nearly 30,000 officers and men reached in early 1944. The 
year 1943 brought the highest number of native employees on Ameri- 
can projects, approximately 42,000 men and women — Iranians, Iraqi, 
Polish refugees, and a sprinkling of other nationalities and races. In 

'For plans for work assignments, see Orders for Processing Shipment 1616 at Khor- 
ramshahr. 323.61 Establishment of Military Districts, Binder 2, SL 9008. Port troops were 
at work unloading ships under British control the day after their landing. Dir of Ports, 
Monthly Rpt of Opns to 28 Feb, 1 Mar 43. PGF 26-A. 

" For an account of the voyages of the West Point and other ships which brought the new 
American command to Iran, see HOTI, Pt. V, History of the 3d Military Railway Service, 
by 1st Lt Francis J. Lewis, pp. 32-48. PGF. 


addition an average of 15,000 Iranian civilians was employed directly 
by the ISR during the period of American operation. Railway em- 
ployees at the height of operations in 1944 reached 30,000. Although 
exact figures for native employment are not available, it was estimated 
that during the busiest months of 1943 and 1944 the combined Anglo- 
American operations in the Persian Corridor used about 100,000 
natives. Because of the greater mechanization of American projects, 
th e higher pr oportion of these workers was employed by the British. 3 
Table 13 gives an idea of the scope and v ariety of the tasks under- 
taken by the American command. Taken with Chart 2 it helps indicate 
the shifting emphases that fell now upon one sort of task, now upon 
another. The two provide a kind of bird's-eye view of the operation as 
a whole. They show, for instance, that military strength was brought 
to its peak quite early in the game, as all units allocated by the SOS 
Plan, with subsequent accretions, were thrown promptly into the field 
to serve as the machine's basic force. The operating services set up 
under the plan each generated its own pattern. The American com- 
mand took over the port of Khorramshahr on 7 January 1943, and 
the top month of ports operations came in July 1944. The Motor 
Transport Service began active operations in March 1943 and closed 
on 1 December 1944. The Military Railway Service took over the 
southern sector of the ISR from the British on 1 April 1943 and handed 
the line back on 25 June 1945. Peak strength in native labor, reached 
in November 1943, some months after the peak in military strength, 
preceded by eight months the highest month for ports traffic attained 
in July 1944. This reflects the heavy expenditure of manpower required 
to prepare the facilities — highways, docks, warehouses, camps, posts, 
stations, and other installations — prerequisite to the flow of maximum 
traffic through the Corridor to USSR receiving points. The mission of 
the command was declared accomplished on 1 June 1945. Assembly 
operations proceeded throughout most of the period in a curve which 
reached its maximum in 1944 and then tapered off. The picture as a 
whole is one of a region extending from Khorramshahr to Kazvin — a 

1 (1) Peak assigned U.S. military strength came in February 1944 with 29,691 officers 
and men. In addition to the assigned strength, attached military personnel served in the 
command area, most of these—sometimes reaching 2,000 in the later period — being per- 
sonnel of the Air Transport Command. (2) An estimate in February 1943 that combined 
Anglo-American native laborers numbered 125,000 is supplemented by a statement at & 
meeting in that month that 81,000 natives were then being provided food rations and that 
a maximum limit of 100,000 was agreed between the British and Americans for native food 
rations. Memo, Maj Richard W. Cooper, Chief, Labor Relations Br, to CG, PGSC, 2 Feb 43, 
sub: Policy on Feeding Native Laborers; Memo, Maj H. R. Eichenberg, Dist QM, Tehran 
Dist, 16 Feb 43, sub: Summary of History of Native Feeding, PGSC, Aug-Nov 42; and 
Mi'n of Mtg, U.S. Army, British Army, and USSR, 16 Feb 43, sub: Native Feeding. 
PGF 234. 


distance almost exactly that which separates New York from Detroit 
by road — dotted from end to end by American installations serving a 
dozen principal activities, each keyed to its own tempo, but interde- 
pendent and co-ordinated by a central purpose and design. 

The distribution of the machine's working parts — its military per- 
sonnel and civilian labor forces — among the several tasks illustrates 
the complexity of planning and co-ordination. During the peak of 
operations, from February to September 1944, for example, 17 percent 
of the military strength of the American command was assigned to 
operation of the MTS; 14 percent to the MRS; 3 percent to signals 
work; and the balance of 66 percent to working the ports, assembly 
plants, and depots, to construction and maintenance, and to the over- 
head and housekeeping activities necessary to the existence of the 
command itself. 4 Earlier and later periods show variations in distribu- 
tion of military strength by tasks. The sampling of trends in civilian 
employment by tasks furnishes another means of measuring the shifting 
of emphasis from one type of work to another, though not an infallible 
one, because its yardstick excludes the military personnel who per- 
formed all the work of the Signal Service and much of the highway 
construction program. ^_^^^^^ 

But the trends can be generalized. | Table 13| correctly suggests, for 
instance, the conclusion that the greatest activity at the beginning of 
General Connolly's regime was in construction other than highways, 
and that the construction peak was reached early. Highway construc- 
tion and maintenance, also an important early activity, rounded its 
rising curve later than other types of construction and then declined. 
In the earliest period sampled, the very high civilian employment 
figure for ordnance activity reflects the initial arrival and disposition 
of heavy machinery and equipment which was a nonrecurrent task. 
The service and supply item grows larger as the command's logistical 
performance rises, but continues to increase in the final period sampled 
when military strength was matched, almost man for man, by native 
laborers, three fifths of whom, at that time, were occupied in service 
and supply activities. Port operations employed civilians in a curve 
which parallels the development of port capacity to handle the in- 
creasing loads shipped into the Corridor. Employment at depots, other 
than ordnance, roughly parallels the curve of port operations, but 
the civilian employee total reached its peak earlier, and tapered off 

* (1) HOTI, Pt. I, Chs. 1-5, Administration, by George B. Zeigler and (Ch. 5 only) 
Wallace P. Rusterholtz, with Annex by Victor H. Pentlarge, Jr., p. 84. PGF. (2) Ltr, 
CO, PGSC, to House Subcommittee on WD Appropriations, 5 Oct 45. AMET 314.7 Mili- 
tary Histories, SL 8997. 


sooner than that for the ports themselves, reflecting the intensive efforts 
required to prepare and put into operation a storage and warehouse 
plant which would be capable thereafter of handling maximum loads 
as called upon, and which was geared, after the initial preparations, 
to operate maximum loads with a decreasing labor force. Interpreta- 
tion of the figures for the railway and motor transport services requires 
the more detailed information furnished in the later chapters devoted 
to their work. The civilian railway figures are not significant, showing 
only those employees who for special reasons were directly employed by 
the U.S. Army; and the MTS figures indicate only that the American 
trucking system, to which the SOS Plan assigned a relatively lower 
priority than to the other two chief operating services, depended upon 
a large supply of native labor to keep it rolling during the compara- 
tively brief period of its most intensive activity. 

As the story of the command's chief activities proceeds, the routine 
work, which cannot be dealt with in detail, must not be forgotten. 
Construction, signal communications, assembly, and the operation of 
ports, railway, and truck convoys, were to be the main business of the 
Americans for three years to come. But without the steady perform- 
ance of more humdrum assignments common to military establish- 
ments, though beset in the Persian Corridor by their own peculiar prob- 
lems, the accomplishment of the primary mission would have been im- 
possible. There were the quartermaster troops and their native helpers, 
who ran great depots at Khorramshahr and Ahwaz, operated bakeries, 
laundries, ice-cream plants, and refrigerated warehouses; they con- 
ducted salvage and repair, took care of supply of troops and installa- 
tions, and maintained cemeteries. There were also the men of ordnance 
with their depot at Andimeshk and their far-flung activities ; the medi- 
cal, dental, and hospital, personnel ; the military police; and those in 
charge of water supply — all shared in the common task, the primary 
mission of getting supplies through to the USSR. 5 

Certain personnel problems applied to the command as a whole. 
Because of the extraordinary demands upon the available labor supply 
imposed by war-born activities, it was essential that Iranian, British, 
Soviet, and American authorities should agree upon general wage rates 
and principles of hiring. Otherwise competition for labor would seri- 
ously derange the economy and frustrate the activities of the four na- 
tions in the area. Basic American policy was established in December 
1942 and was generally adhered to throughout the remaining period of 

5 Documented details of these tasks are in the indexed Persian Gulf Files (PGF) and 
are summarized in an unused draft chapter, "Supporting Services," filed with the manuscript 
of this book in OCMH. 


operations. Labor policies set by the British deputy assistant director of 
labor and enforced by local British labor officers were accepted by the 
Americans, No one could be hired away from any Allied war organiza- 
tion, including the ISR, the UKCC, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, 
or Soviet or British military organizations, nor could any person be 
hired who resigned from these groups with the intent of joining Ameri- 
can enterprises. Rates of pay were to be, in general, those set by the 
British authorities. 6 To maintain amicable relations with the govern- 
ment of Iran it was later determined that American agencies would 
not hire persons employed by the Iranian Government, unless appli- 
cants furnished a release or a leave of absence signed by competent 
Iranian authority. 7 While it cannot be said that these general policies 
prevented dislocations in the labor market or some raids by one group 
upon the labor supply of another (instances occurred on the part of 
all four national groups ) , the policy was more honored in the observance 
than in the breach. 

The Iranian economy was nevertheless unfortunately and inevi- 
tably upset during the war years. Inflation and scarcity of commodities, 
particularly in the summer of 1942, produced food riots at Ahwaz and 
Andimeshk resulting in some deaths. Joint Anglo-American action in 
September instituted a daily ration of flour, tea, and sugar, charged 
for at the rate of two rials 8 against daily wages. The rioting stopped, 
absenteeism diminished, and productivity on war work, especially high- 
way construction, increased, because of the encouragement to steadier 
employment and the increased vigor of the workers. After the new 
American command had established itself, the British authorities raised 
the question of reducing food rations for native workmen, on the 
ground that the required tonnage threw too great a burden upon the 
transportation system. During early 1943 the Americans experienced 
some difficulty in obtaining tea and sugar for native rations from local 
British sources. The Americans were not in favor of reducing the ra- 
tions and pointed out that 80 percent of the required amount would 
be used within a 150-mile radius of the ports, and that 600 tons monthly 
would suffice. It was preferable in the American view to feed the natives 
entirely than to dispense with their labor and have to rely on increased 
American and British military manpower, whose rations would have 
to be imported. 

By the Tri-Partite Treaty Great Britain and the Soviet Union un- 
dertook to cause a minimum of disturbance to Iranian economic life. 

8 Memo, Gen Scott, 1 Dec 42, sub: Labor Policy. AG 230.05, Hq PGC. 
T Civ Pers Cir 2, Hq, PGSC, 20 Jan 43. Abstract PGF 261. 
8 By WD Cir 130 (Jul 43), the rial was valued at $0.03125. 


They pledged their best endeavors to safeguard Iran's economic ex- 
istence. At a conference on 16 February 1943, attended by American, 
British, and Soviet representatives, it was agreed that responsibility for 
the civil population belonged to the Iranian Government but that when 
food was otherwise unobtainable the Allied war agencies should provide 
rations for workmen according to the American-suggested scale. The 
British were to be responsible for the supply of sugar and tea from Brit- 
ish military stocks, and of wheat, to be procured through the Middle 
East Supply Center and drawn through British military stocks. By this 
agreement a serious impediment to the successful conclusion of opera- 
tions in the Corridor was averted. 9 

In the south smoldering antagonism between workmen of Arab and 
Persian stock was a fairly constant problem. At some installations there 
was little or no friction; at others the situation required careful han- 
dling. In the summer, when the Persians migrated to the north, the 
proportion of Arab laborers tended to increase. The passage of Iraqi 
nationals across the border to the Iranian ports sometimes produced 
difficulties when British security authorities considered border controls 
inadequate. Matters came to a head in the latter part of 1943 with an 
American protest against British closing of the border to all but spe- 
cialized technical people from Iraq. Measures of control were jointly 
devised which led to confirmation by PAI Force on 5 July 1944 of an 
agreement for frontier control in the Basra-Khorramshahr area. 10 

The employment of American Negro units in Iran did not receive 
the unmixed blessing of the British authorities, who feared that unless 
Negro troops were isolated from the natives the differential in rates of 
pay would cause trouble. They also pointed out that because some 
Arabs and Persians had been slave dealers it would not be tactful to 
place American Negroes in supervisory capacities in the Persian Cor- 
ridor. It was American policy that Negroes should serve in the armed 
forces in numbers proportionate to the population ratio, and it was 
understood that they would serve under General Connolly and be used 
at his discretion. The original troop disposition plans made in Wash- 
ington called for three Negro port battalions and two engineer dump 
truck companies, and the first troop shipment on the West Point in- 
cluded the 435th Engineer Dump Truck Company and Company B 
of the 611th Quartermaster Bakery Battalion les one platoon. During 
the life of the American command Negro troops served in port opera- 

* Documents cited n. 3(2). 

M (1) Hist Rpt, Hq, Abadan Air Base, PGC, Oct 44. PGF 2-V. (2) Ltr, Hq, PAI 
Force, to Hq, PGC, 5 Jul 44; and Ltrs, U.S. Provost Marshal to CO's of PGC Dists, 8 and 
18 Aug 44. 010.8 Traffic Regulations, SL 8976. 


tions, highway and airfield construction, maintenance, and motor pools. 
In general, they were assigned to Gulf District, but units also worked 
in the Desert and Mountain Districts, some being stationed at Tehran 
and Hamadan. The 352d Engineer Regiment, whose band was the 
pride of the command, received a wide variety of assignments. Its units 
were stationed in many parts of the Corridor in 1944 before departure 
on 9 November for another theater. 

At no time very numerous, Negro troops at the end of February 
1945 constituted a little over 10 percent of the strength of the PGC, 
which was in proportion to their percentage in the Army as a whole. 
In July 1944 the PGC proposed to supplant its Negro units by import- 
ing Italian prisoners of war. Whatever the long-range pressures which 
may have motivated the proposal, it offered a solution for the relief of 
two Negro port battalions whose reduced efficiency after long service 
at the docks was of immediate concern to GHQ. Washington rejected 
the proposal as violating the principle that each theater commander 
must maintain a certain percentage of Negroes in proportion to all 
troops. The status of American troops in the Persian Corridor was not 
a matter of formal international understanding, and the American 
position, as an auxiliary force, was sometimes difficult. It is not surpris- 
ing that, within this general pattern, the special problems arising from 
the presence of Negro troops in Iran were also difficult. 11 

The Army Takes Over Construction 

The construction program carried on by the Iranian District 
engineer in 1942 suffered more vicissitudes than any other part of the 
task assigned to the Iranian Mission and its successors throughout 
that year of confusion. Handicapped by the late start resulting from the 
shift to Iran from Iraq in the spring and dogged by drastic shortages 
of men and materials which were not overcome until October, just as 
the new regime of General Connolly was taking over, the 1942 opera- 

" (1) Rad, Connolly to Scott, 7 Nov 42. PGF 259. (2) An article on a Negro bakery 
outfit in Iran appeared in Yank, May 21, 1943; GO 4, Hq 1616-A, SOS, 16 Oct 42; 
History: United States Military Iranian Mission, 20 Mar 43, prepared for Col Don G. 
Shingler, Chief of Mission, by 1st Lt Victor E. Dietze, Hist Off, PGF 242; Memo, Plans 
Div, Hq, SOS, 9 Sep 42, SPOPP 370.5 (9-8-42). (3) Hist Rpt, Engrg Br, Opns Div, 
15 Feb 44-1 Jun 45, PGF 127-1-D: for an account of the 352d Engineer Regiment's service 
and that of the 435th Engineer Dump Truck Company, see HOTI, Pt. Ill, History of 
Construction, by Victor H. Pentlarge, Jr., pp. 34-45, PGF, where the work of other engineer 
units is also recorded. (4) Strength of the Army, prepared for War Department General 
Staff by Machine Records Branch, Office of Adjutant General, under direction of Statistics 
Branch, GS, 1 Mar 45. (5) Rad WAR 70749 to Connolly, 26 Jul 44. 291.2 Negro, SL 
8992. (6) Ltr, Maj Gen John E. Hull to Gen Handy, 24 Jul 44. Paper 991, Bk. 21, File 9, 
OPD Executive Office File. 


tions nevertheless brought to five the number of berths at Khorram- 
shahr, produced a temporary road in partly usable shape from there 
to Andimeshk, and completed twenty bridges and the buildings contem- 
plated in the first planning. But the new construction fell far short of 
what had been planned to meet traffic requirements even before the 
increased aid-to-Russia commitment. The amount of work which re- 
mained to be done to reach SOS Plan requirements therefore assumed 
almost staggering proportions. Every link in the chain of supply opera- 
tions from Khorramshahr to Kazvin had to be strengthened and new 
facilities provided, not only for the work of the three chief operating 
services, but for the accommodation of the service troops of the new 
command. After the grievous troubles of 1942 the provision of ade- 
quate manpower and equipment — coupled with a plan of operations 
no longer, after Stalingrad, subject to overriding tactical priorities — 
threw construction into high gear. By the end of 1943 few major 
construction projects remained to be completed. 12 

In construction affairs the transition to the Army's militarized 
program was complicated by the necessity of meshing the new machine 
with the old Iranian District engineer organization while providing 
continuity and simultaneously launching new undertakings. All this 
had to be done at top speed because port, rail, and motor convoy 
operations could not attain maximum efficiency until facilities were 

The administrative machinery which was evolved to carry con- 
struction operations through the period of transition and onward into 
the activity of 1 943 was more complex on paper than in action. When 
General Connolly's principal engineer officer, Colonel Osborne, ar- 
rived in the field in early November 1942, construction was still in the 
hands of the Iranian District engineer's office at Ahwaz. Colonel 
Osborne brought with him a small group of six officers and fourteen 
enlisted men called the Engineer Headquarters (Corps) 1616. They 
had been organized the previous September at the Engineer Organiza- 
tion Center, Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, and were trained to conduct 
engineer headquarters activities in the field. In accordance with the 

,: (1) Hist Rpt, Cons Br, Opns Div, 15 Aug-15 Dec 43. PGF 127-K. (2) Except as 
otherwise noted, authority for the rest of this section is derived from History cited note 11(3), 
including the section on the Construction Service; Hist Rpts, Cons Div, Cons Br, Opns Div, 
and Engrg Br, Opns Div, 15 Feb 43-1 Tun 45, PGF 127; Completion Rpt, Aid-to-Russia 
Highway, prepared bv Engrg Br, Opns Div, Hq, PGC, PGF 127; Semimonthly and Monthly 
Rpts of Civilian Employees, 15 Apr 43-31 Jul 45, PGF 151 ; Hist Rpts, Civ Pers Br, Admin 
Div, same period, PGF 151; HOTI, Pt. I, Ch. 7, History of Civilian Personnel Branch 
Activities, Administration Division, Hq, PGC, by Col Richard W. Cooper, PGF: and Memo, 
Opns Div, Jun 45, for House Mil Affairs Committee, sub: PGC Installations and Facilities, 
319.25 Compilations and Gathering Data, SL 9008. 


functional plan adopted for the command, construction activities, 
being among the most pressing duties to be performed at the outset, 
were to be carried on by an operating service. When in November five 
operating services were set up, Colonel Osborne became the first 
director of the Construction Service, which, like its parallel services, 
derived its powers and duties from the commanding general. 

Organization of the Construction Service did not immediately re- 
sult in the extinction of the Iranian District engineer, whose powers 
and duties stemmed from the Chief of Engineers, Washington, through 
the North Atlantic Division engineer, New York. For more than a year 
the Iranian District engineer and the commanding officers of the Iran- 
ian Mission and its successors had worked out a modus operandi in spite 
of the theoretical overlapping of their powers and duties. It was neces- 
sary to eliminate even theoretical overlapping before the new com- 
mand got up to its neck in operating responsibilities. Colonel Osborne — 
serving in the triple capacities of General Connolly's chief engineer 
officer in charge of construction, Iranian District engineer, and com- 
manding officer of the Engineer Headquarters ( Corps ) 1 6 1 6 — personi- 
fied the unification of overlapping responsibilities. But although the 
establishment in November of the Construction Service combined per- 
sonnel of the district engineer's staff and of the Engineer Headquarters 
(Corps) 1616 with the personnel of the new operating service, the 
organizations whose roots extended beyond the Persian Corridor con- 
tinued to survive. Even before Osborne recommended to Connolly the 
abolition of the Iranian Engineer District, steps were being taken in 
Washington, in view of the militarization of civilian contract activities, 
to simplify procurement and supply for engineer work by turning over 
the duties and property of the two engineer districts in the Middle East 
command to theater services of supply. But the wheels moved slowly, 
and the Iranian Engineer District did not disappear from view until 
1 May 1943. The Engineer Headquarters (Corps) 1616 remained a 
headquarters within the construction machinery until 20 February 
1944. 1S 

Through the device of combining overlapping functions in a single 
person, construction policy and operations were effectively controlled 

13 (1 ) Memo, Gen Styer, CofS, SOS, for CofEngrs, 28 Oct 42, sub: Amalgamation of Dist 
Engr Offices with Serv Comds and/or SOS in the USAFIME. PGF 239. (2) Rad AMSME 
1869, Somervell to Maxwell, 18 Nov 42; and Rad 256-Z, Maxwell to Connolly, 4 Dec 42. 
PGF 239. (3) Ltr, NAD Engr to CofEngrs, 8 Apr 43. NA 323 (NAD) 4, NADEF. (4) GO 
11, OCofEngrs, ASF, WD, 17 Apr 43. Same file. (5) Rad, Gen Robins, Actg CofEngrs, 
to Connolly, 1 May 43. 384 Conduct of War with Relation to Commands, SL 9016. 
(6) Ltr, TAG to CofEngrs, 24 Sep 42. AG 370.5 Shipment 1616, Hq PGC. (7) GO 8, 
Hq, PGC, 20 Feb 44. 


by command headquarters from the start. Like Pooh-Bah, the Lord 
High Everything Else in The Mikado, the director of construction 
could do in that capacity what he might not do as Iranian District 
engineer. A further step toward administrative simplification was the 
early decentralization of operational responsibility, when the geo- 
graphical subareas were provided with engineer officers and charged 
with construction duties for their areas. In the Ahwaz Area, long the 
headquarters of the Iranian District engineer, the Ahwaz District engi- 
neer and the Iranian District engineer were the same person. An ex- 
ception to the rule which made each geographical district responsible 
for its own construction, the Ahwaz District performed construction 
tasks also for Gulf District until 1 June 1943, when, by a process of 
biological division, a Gulf District engineer office was established with 
personnel from Ahwaz. That the job was not all blueprints and desk 
conferences was grimly emphasized only a few days later. Prospecting 
an uncertain desert track between Ahwaz and Tanuma to determine 
the route of a new road, the Gulf District engineer and his companion 
lost their way and perished under the blazing sun. Search parties found 
their bodies on 1 2 June. 14 In a context of administrative arrangements 
it is too easy to forget the land that had to be subdued to the purposes 
of the war and the men who subdued it. 

Colonel Osborne served only briefly as the first Director, Construc- 
tion Service, for in November he went on to head the new Operations 
and Supply Division, being succeeded in construction by Colonel 
McGlone, who, like himself and all who headed construction work 
thereafter, had previously served as an Iranian District engineer. But 
the success of delegating responsibility to the territorial districts soon 
dictated the abolition of the Construction Service in the interests of 
simplification of administrative machinery. The headquarters reorgani- 
zation of March 1 943, therefore, eliminated the Construction Service, 
but established within a reorganized and newly named Operations 
Division a Construction Branch, whose chief, Colonel McGlone, re- 
ported to the division's director, Colonel Osborne. While actual con- 
struction was carried on by decentralized district engineers, plans and 
policies were set at GHQ by Construction Branch. This arrangement 
continued for the life of the command, although the branch was 
redesignated Engineering Branch in March 1945. 15 

" Hist Rpt, Cons Br, 15 May-15 Jun 43, PGF 127-F, names Maj E. D. Park, but omits 
to name the sergeant who shared his fate. 

10 ( 1 ) Colonel McGlone and Colonel Cape, his executive officer, both served as Chief, 
Construction Branch, Operations Division. (2) SO 47, Hq, PGSC, 16 Mar 43; SO 89, Hq, 
PGSC, 8 May 43; GO 38, Hq, PGC, 28 Feb 45; SO 68, Hq, PGC, 15 Mar 45. 


The construction program proceeded in three waves of priority 
determined by need and growing troop strength and materials. First 
priority went to roads, docks, assembly plants, and storage buildings, 
in a continuation and extension of the work already under way in late 
1942. Hospitals, mess halls, barracks, and latrines received second 
priority; while administration buildings, service clubs, and miscel- 
laneous structures came last. As a general policy, work was performed 
by U.S. Army service troops and native labor; but some projects, in- 
cluding over one hundred buildings erected at Hamadan and road 
construction north of Andimeshk, employed local contractors. Because 
of the local availability of mud bricks, kiln bricks, and stone in a country 
where lumber was scarce, the Persian Corridor was one of the few 
overseas areas where permanent or semipermanent construction was 
used. Among many problems arising from climate and local conditions 
was roofing for buildings in the south. After unsuccessful experiments 
with tar paper over boards taken from truck packing cases, a sand 
asphalt compound was developed which stood up well under the sun. 
Electrical and plumbing fixtures came largely from the United States. 

As the American tasks were being transferred from Iraq to Iran, 
Colonel Shingler in April 1942 directed the Iranian District engineer 
to complete a temporary road and a permanent two-way highway be- 
tween Khorramshahr and Andimeshk and a branch road across to 
Tanuma-Cheybassi by 1 December. 16 Because of uncertain security 
conditions to the north of Andimeshk, it was decided in Washington 
in October not to attempt road construction in that region with civilian 
constructors. With only the temporary road completed but not wholly 
surfaced beween Khorramshahr and Andimeshk by December and the 
branch westward to Tanuma-Cheybassi as yet unattempted, it was 
decided to concentrate highway building upon the permanent road to 
Andimeshk and, in conjunction with the British, using military forces 
and native labor, to convert the existing rough road from Andimeshk 
to Kazvin to a highway suitable for heavy truck convoys. 17 

The branch road from Khorramshahr to Tanuma was built by 
U.S. engineer troops between July and December 1943. It was ex- 
tended five and a half miles upstream from Tanuma to Coal Island by 
British contractors with U.S. engineer help. The longer link was main- 
tained by the American command until mid-November 1944, the 

" Ltr, Shingler to Lieber, 18 Apr 42. PGF 127. 

" A British request to the Americans to build a road from Andimeshk to Baghdad was 
disapproved as not contributing to the accomplishment of the PGSC's primary mission. 
Colonel Osborne recommended that such aid to the British be deferred until completion of the 
projected aid-to-Russia highways. Ltr [n. d., but after 1 Oct 42], Osborne to Scott ; and 
Ltr, PGSC to PAI Force, 24 Dec 42. DE File D-l, Operations, NADEF. 


shorter until April of that year. After taking over the Khorramshahr- 
Andimeshk highway from the engineer constructor and repairing the 
serious damage caused by the floods of March 1943, the new command 
completed the permanent road that year. From Khorramshahr to 
fifteen miles south of Ahwaz a bitumen surface was laid on an embank- 
ment of compacted earth. North to fifteen miles beyond Ahwaz a 
sandstone base on earth embankment was used with bitumen surface. 
Beyond, to Andimeshk, the base layer was gravel. The cost of 173 miles 
of road was $28,896,000. 18 

Before 1942 the British and Iranians had worked on the old road 
between Andimeshk and Kazvin; but when the U.S. engineers began 
work on it in June 1943, it was unpaved or badly paved at intervals. 
This long stretch of road was jointly constructed and maintained by 
an Anglo-American agreement reached in August 1943 and revised in 
April 1944. 19 The United States built or rebuilt 252 miles; the British, 
with American aid, 178 miles; and the British alone, 30 miles. Because 
of large British contributions of labor and materials, their share of the 
cost was $9,832,000 as against the American share of $5,936,000. The 
road was improved by straightening curves, relocating some stretches, 
cutting away hills, and replacing the surface. Although convoys used it 
during construction, by the coming of first snow most of the length was 
paved or surfaced with gravel which was replaced by paving in 1944. 
Upon an earth embankment was laid a gravel base, surfaced with 

Maintenance of highways, as agreed between the British and 
American commands, was an American responsibility for the Khor- 
ramshahr-Andimeshk road until 1 December 1944, and was shared 
between Andimeshk and Kazvin until June 1945; but winter mainte- 
nance policy, separately agreed upon in July 1943, handed over to the 
Americans entire responsibility for flood, slide, and snow control from 
Khorramshahr all the way to Kazvin. For the greater part of 1943, 
while the northern part of the road was under construction, this re- 
sponsibility threw a severe burden upon American engineer troops and 
heavy equipment, for at the beginning of the year about half the route 
north of Andimeshk was unsurfaced and was being maintained by 
native labor with picks and shovels. By throwing everything into main- 
tenance, by watering, blading, and adding gravel, the road surface was 

11 This and subsequent breakdown costs are derived from the sources used for[Tablel4J 
where estimated costs of constructing American fixed installations in the Persian Uorridor 
have been consolidated under general headings and classifications. 

1B Joint Directive on Aid-to-Russia Road Construction, Policy, Procedure, and Co-opera- 
tion, on the Route Andimeshk-Malayer-Hamadan-Kazvin, signed 9 Aug 43. 092.2 Treaties 
and Agreements, SL 8978, 


sufficiently improved to speed up travel time for the motor convoys, 
and this resulted in reducing maintenance time and labor hitherto 
expended on the vehicles. By the end of 1943 not more than fifty miles 
of road remained unpaved between Andimeshk and Kazvin. 

A detailed inventory of other construction throughout the com- 
mand would produce a bewildering jumble of items, large and small. 
Dock construction was, fortunately for incoming cargoes, soonest com- 
pleted. The sixth new berth at Khorramshahr — which, with the old 
concrete berth there before the war, provided seven berths — was com- 
pleted late in May 1943. Sentab Jetty, described in the later chapter 
on port operations, had been extended from a pygmy a little over 400 
feet long by 50 feet wide to a giant over 3,000 feet long, widened, by 
April 1944, to over 100 feet, and served by access trestles and a maze 
of approach railway tracks. New water lines for fire protection and an 
elaborate system of lighting for night operations made the jetty capable 
of handling the heavy stream of cargo which tested its design and effi- 
ciency successfully in 1944. The jetty at Failiyah Creek at Khorram- 
shahr was completed in May 1943, and by August of that year the 
decking laid at Bandar Shahpur on the new British contractor-built 
jetty was in service. 

At Amirabad, on the rising ground between Tehran and the moun- 
tains where the Iranian Government had planned a five-year construc- 
tion program for a cantonment, permission to use the site was granted 
to the American command, and work began early in December 1942 
on the extensive headquarters camp. It was occupied in July 1943. At 
Andimeshk, which was developed into an important rail-to-road trans- 
shipping station, base ordnance workshops were established and camps 
for some 3,100 officers and men of ordnance, MTS, and MRS units. 
By the end of 1943, thirty-six posts, camps, and stations, to house and 
serve nearly 30,000 troops, had been completed at a cost of $ 1 9,633,900. 
By the end of 1944, airstrips and runways had been constructed, resur- 
faced, or extended at Andimeshk, Ahwaz, and Abadan ; and the British 
had been furnished blueprints for modifications and extensions to Royal 
Air Force fields used by the Americans at Sharja in Trucial Oman, 
Bahrein, Landing Ground H3 in western Iraq, and at Habbaniya. At 
the Soviet-controlled airfield at Tehran, Qaleh Morgeh, jointly occu- 
pied by Russians and Americans, temporary construction, the only sort 
allowed by the Russians, was accomplished. In 1945 little construction 
work remained to be done except such desirable flourishes as swimming 
pools and the installatio n of air-con ditioning apparatus. 

The cost estimates in | Table 14] furnish a reliable index to the scope 


and distribution of the construction program by large categories ; but, 
because they do not include such items as the expense of maintaining 
the military establishment which did the constructing, they fall short 
of expressing the full expenditure of treasure which went into the fa- 
cilities essential to deliver supplies to the USSR. The table does not 
show individual projects, like that at Khurramabad where installations 
exceeded one million dollars; or Amirabad, which came to more than 
two and a quarter millions; or Ahwaz, to over two millions. It does not 
itemize the nearly ten millions of dollars which went into the port of 
Khorramshahr, in which the British interest came to one third ; or the 
nearly four millions required to put Bandar Shahpur into shape, less 
than one quarter of that amount being American interest. Of the total 
consolidated cost estimate, approaching one hundred million dollars, 
more than half was required to create the aid-to-Russia highways used 
by American truck convoys, and by far the greater part of that amount 
was borne by the American taxpayer. But more than one third of the 
estimated cost of constructing American fixed installations fell to the 
British share in the experiment in co-operation. 

Signal Communications 

Of the five operating services established in November 1942, the 
Signal Service, originally called the Signal Communication Service, 
was the smallest, its military strength at the peak of signals activity in 
July 1944 numbering about 1,000 officers and men including a head- 
quarters staff at Tehran of about 1 50. Its first director, Colonel Thomas, 
served from his arrival in the field in November 1942 until he became 
Chief of Staff, PGC, in January 1945, when he was succeeded by Lt. 
Col. George H. Combel. 20 The Signal Service was dissolved on 14 
August 1945, being replaced by Signal Branch, Operations Division. 21 

Administratively the Signal Service was a command-wide operat- 
ing service which derived its powers and responsibilities from the com- 
manding general. It exercised direct control over all signal installations 

"Relieved 15 June 1945 by Major Sherwen. Rpt, Ex Off to CofS, to CofS, 22 Jun 45. 

" ( 1 ) For technical details of signals operations see Communications in the Persian Gulf 
Command, edited by Capt Sidney L. Jackson, Historical Section, OCSigO, October 1944, 
filed as Pt. I, Ch. 8, sec. 2 of HOTI, PGF ; and Pentlarge's A Supplement to Communications 
in the PGC, Apr 46, filed as above. (2) The basic sources for this section are the Historical 
Reports of the Signal Service, 15 May 43-15 Aug 45, PGF 133, and especially those for 
10 Aug 44, 14 Jul 45, and 15 Aug 45. Also GO 34, Hq, PGSC, 31 May 43 (defining signal 
functions) ; Interv with Col Thomas, 1 Dec 44; Ltr, Gen Thomas to Col A. F. Clark, Jr., 
22 Apr 46, PGF 133; and A Brief Description of the Development and Present Operations 
of the Persian Gulf Command, prepared 31 Aug 44 for the Superintendent, U.S. Military 
Academv, and transmitted by Ltr, 24 Oct 44, Historical Report 1944, SL 8997. 


and facilities in the command, equally for construction, operation, and 
maintenance. It could call upon the district commanders for unit 
supplies and help in other housekeeping matters in which districts acted 
as service organizations. At the outset local responsibility was exercised 
through subordinate signal headquarters within each of the command's 
territorial districts; but after a period of trial this arrangement was 
found to handicap the development and operation of continuous lines 
along the railway by subjecting them to the separate local authority 
of the district signal officers across whose territories the railway com- 
munications ran. Effective 1 June 1943, therefore, four signal sectors 
independent of the district organizations were set up. Three of these 
sectors corresponded in territory to the districts, and maintained head- 
quarters at Basra, Ahwaz, and Tehran. They were not concerned with 
railway communications, but rather with local wire and radio installa- 
tions within camps and stations. The fourth sector, with its head- 
quarters at Tehran, was responsible for what eventually became, in 
effect, a long-lines system for the whole command, extending from 
Khorramshahr, Bandar Shahpur, and Tanuma-Cheybassi to Tehran, 
paralleling the railway, and operating as a single unit of communica- 
tion. Auxiliary functions of the Signal Service included the installation 
of beacons for aircraft, train and road dispatch systems, and facilities 
for the Iranian Government. 

At the time of the Anglo-Soviet occupation of Iran civil communi- 
cations were rudimentary. Two circuits ran from the Gulf to Tehran, 
and these were supplemented by British improvements during 1942. 
With the arrival in December of the 833d Signal Service Company the 
Americans began to establish radio communication between major 
posts in the command. Construction of wire facilities started with the 
arrival in March 1943 of the 95th Signal Battalion, but proceeded 
slowly because their equipment, shipped separately, arrived months 
after they did. Meanwhile they borrowed what they could from the 
British, mostly for local telephone systems, and relied upon radio for 
intracommand communication. When the 231st Signal Operation 
Company reached the field in the middle of 1943, the 95th Signal 
Battalion was freed for additional construction and for maintenance of 
wire lines already strung. By early 1944 major signal construction was 
completed. At peak command operations that year, the Signal Service 
operated 11 fixed radio stations, 15 teletype stations, and 17 telephone 
switchboards with a capacity of 40 or more lines. About 500 miles of 
pole line had been erected, over 8,000 miles of wire strung, and 12,000 
miles of wire maintained. In maintenance there was a division of labor 
with the British, who were responsible for all wire along the highway 


route. The American command maintained all wire along the railway 
line. Because of their overriding responsibility for security in the 
Corridor, the British were charged with protection of all long lines 
between American camps, American security responsibility being con- 
fined, in theory, to local lines within the boundaries of U.S. installa- 
tions; but in practice, American troops aided in guarding lines 
wherever there was greatest incidence of thieving or threat of sabotage. 
Throughout the history of the command signal operations were 
hampered by wire thefts. It was the practice of marauders to cut long 
lengths of copper wire, for which they showed a marked preference, 
from the poles and then to escape before security patrols or automatic 
alarm systems could act effectively. Some of the copper so lifted would 
turn up in the bazaars as trinkets or coat hangers. It has been estimated 
that about 250 miles of copper wire was stolen. 22 The disruption of 
service through wire thefts was a disturbing factor in telephone and 
teletype operations, and contributed to the decision to keep the radio 
system intact after the completion of the faster and more efficient wire 
systems rendered radio a less desirable means of communication. The 
major dependence of the command upon wire systems is indicated by 
the monthly total of five million groups transmitted by teletype at the 
peak of operations, contrasted to half a million groups per month by 
radio. In addition, toll calls by telephone approximated 25,000 per 

When time came to contract communications in keeping with the 
general reduction in command activities, wire installations were among 
the first to be discontinued. Arrangements were concluded late in Feb- 
ruary 1945 to give over to the British the lines between Bandar Shahpur 
and Ahwaz for maintenance and the signal office at Bandar Shahpur 
for operation. Late in July all wire teletype equipment was removed 
from service ; but Khorramshahr-Tehran and Khorramshahr-Abadan 
radio teletype circuits remained, as did the telephone lines. By the end 
of September the signals men were no longer operating long distance 
telephone lines, and had turned them over to the British for disposal. 
Thereafter only local switchboards were maintained and operated by 
the Americans. In October Operations Division, Headquarters, PGSC, 
was notified that the British had sold the combined Anglo-American 
telecommunications system to the Iranian Government for approxi- 
mately a million dollars, of which the American share was approxi- 
mately $310,000, amounting to 17 percent of the cost of construction, 
including materials and labor. Almost to the end of the command's 

"Ltr cited n. 21(2). 


existence radio served for communications, both within the command's 
territory and between PGSC and the Africa-Middle East Theater in 
Cairo, but for the last few days PAI Force furnished the Americans 
what communications service they required. 28 

The bare and brief recital of facts leaves to be read between the 
lines the achievement of the men of the Signal Corps who, starting 
almost from scratch, created a network of instant and reliable com- 
munication without which the work of moving supplies to the USSR 
would have been severely handicapped. Not the least of their triumphs 
was the picturesque feat of stringing more than forty miles of open 
wire through railway tunnels 7,000 feet aloft in forbidding mountains, 
while trains laden with the materials of war rolled by at 30-minute 
intervals. Man for man, the contribution of the Signal Service to the 
success of the command's mission was no less significant than that of 
the larger numbers at the docks, in the storage yards, repair shops, and 
assembly plants, or pushing north by truck and train. 

The Command and Air Activities 

Official American air transport to and through the Persian Gulf 
area was accomplished by the Air Transport Command ( ATC ) . Its 
operations were subject to its own determination but there was an ad- 
ministrative relationship between ATC and the theater command." 

From 8 February 1943, all weather, airway communications, and 
ATC units or detachments operating in the PGSC were attached to that 
headquarters for administrative supervision. This meant that the com- 
mand held housekeeping responsibility for ATC installations includ- 
ing the following services: base censorship; third, fourth, and fifth 
echelon repair for vehicles; hospitalization; laundry; military police; 
supply other than Air Corps technical ; postal ; bakery ; post exchange ; 
runway maintenance; salvage; repair and disposition; utilities; and 
burial. 15 

Iranian airfields used by ATC were located at Abadan, Tehran, 
and Kazvin. Airfields used by ATC outside Iran were at Basra, Sharja, 
Bahrein, Habbaniya, and Landing Ground H3. In June 1943 ATC 
units at Basra moved to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company airfield at 

" (1) Rpt, Ex Off to CofS, to CofS, 1 Mar 45, PGF 251-C. (2) Rpt, Sig Serv to CofS, 
27 Jun 45 and 1 Aug 45. PGF 251-B. (3) Rpts, Opns Div to CofS, 3 and 18 Oct 45. 
PGF 251-B. 

u In addition to the airfields operated or used by ATC, the headquarters flight of the 
American command occasionally used airstrips at Ahwaz, Andimeshk, Khurramabad, 
Sultanabad, and Hamadan. 

* (1) HOTI, Pt. II, Ch. I, The Abadan Aircraft Assembly Plant (and Air Base), by 
Wallace P. Rusterholtz, p. 2. PGF. (2) Hist Rpt, Ports Serv, Feb 45, p. 1. PGF 26-Z, 


Abadan because the Margil airport at Basra was too small. 28 Under 
agreement with the British the Abadan field was operated by the ATC. 
Operational personnel and air operations were under the direct control 
of the ATC. 

Abadan Air Base was used extensively, particularly as a stop on 
the route from Cairo to Karachi. Aircraft assembled for the USSR at 
the Abadan plant were flown away from the Abadan Air Base. The 
number of landings ranged from approximately 500 to 1,500 per 
month. During October 1944, one of the field's busiest months, 1,649 
landings were made there. In order to provide for the large numbers 
of transients passing through and for ATC personnel assigned to 
Abadan, the command, in 1944, undertook some major construction. 
The housing area was enlarged from a 200-man camp to a 2,900-man 
camp. Mess halls, recreational facilities, and air conditioning were in- 
stalled and utility systems were completely revised. Besides construc- 
tion, PGC's housekeeping services at Abadan were expanded accord- 
ing to the planned increase in operations. For instance, during the 
month of October 1944, 1,373 PGC military personnel were attached 
to Abadan to provide necessary services. In addition, 1,100 native 
employees served the ATC in aircraft and post maintenance and in 
improving the runways. 27 

At the RAF fields at Sharja, Bahrein, Habbaniya, and Landing 
Ground H3, the ATC was at first assigned landing rights only but later 
was allowed to conduct its own operations under British over-all con- 
trol. PGC was responsible for conducting negotiations between the 
RAF and ATC. ATC provided information regarding required facili- 
ties at the fields which PGC relayed to the RAF. Actual construction 
was the responsibility of the British, but a PGC officer was stationed at 
each field to act as liaison between the constructing agency and PGC. 28 
Extensive ATC operations at Bahrein began in the summer of 1944. 
From February to May 1944, the ATC units at Bahrein were detach- 
ments from those at Abadan. PGC provided housekeeping services for 
ATC personnel operating at Bahrein. ATC required some extensive 
construction at Bahrein for which PGC supplied some materials and 
co-ordinated requests with the British. 

The first ATC operations at Habbaniya in October 1943 were few; 
but by April 1944 ATC required housing for 250 operating personnel 
and 250 transients. These ATC troops were under the administrative 

" History cited n. 25(1). 

" (I) Rpt cited n. 10(1). (2) Page 10 of Rpt cited n. 11(3). (3) Station List, Hq, PGC, 
as of Oct 44. PGF 230-V. 

"Page 4 of Rpt cited n. 11(3). 


jurisdiction of PGC. In October 1944 80 PGC troops were at 
Habbaniya carrying out the PGC mission there. 29 

ATC operations at Sharja began early in 1944. In June 1944 a 
request to provide quarters for 115 officers and 185 enlisted men was 
handled through the PGC. A complete camp, including living quar- 
ters, operations building, water facilities, recreation building, and ware- 
house, had to be constructed at Sharja. In October 1944, 116 PGC 
personnel were assigned there. PGC responsibility for ATC operations 
at Landing Ground H3 was the same as that for other British-controlled 
fields. In October 1944 nine PGC military personnel were at Landing 
Ground H3. 30 

The Qaleh Morgeh airport at Tehran was under USSR control, 
but the ATC was allowed to use the field. PGC provided facilities and 
administrative services for the ATC there. Repairs were made on an 
existing hangar utilized by U.S. personnel. A temporary terminal 
building was built, runway lights were installed, and other improve- 
ments were made at the field. As late as November 1944 General Con- 
nolly expected that he might have to build an airfield at Tehran. 31 
Studies made for an ail-American airfield with two runways and all 
navigation and maintenance equipment went no further, as joint 
Soviet-American use of the Qaleh Morgeh airport continued to the 
end. The Soviet-controlled airfield at Kazvin was used by ATC for 
emergencies only. No U.S. personnel were stationed there. 

Logistical Support of FRANTIC Mission 

This survey of command activities as a whole will conclude with 
mention of two of its undertakings in support of other theaters of op- 
eration. The first of these tasks was to contribute, though briefly, to the 
war in the European theater. The other was in aid of China-Burma- 

On 1 November 1943, a U.S. military mission to the USSR, headed 
by Maj. Gen. John R. Deane, was organized. Deane's mission achieved 
many things in the Soviet Union. Most pertinent to this history was 
the successful negotiation of Soviet permission to establish airfields in 
the Soviet Union from which shuttle bombing of German territory 
could be accomplished. Soviet approval for the project was given on 
2 February 1944, whereupon the Eastern Command, code-named 

M ( 1 ) Historv of the North African Div, ATC, 1 Mar 45-30 Sep 45, p. 497. Archives 
of the Air Hist Office, File 3 1 3 A ( Mar 45-Sep 45 ) . ( 2 ) Station List cited n. 2 7 ( 3 ) . 
80 (1) Page 516 of History cited n. 29(1). (2) Rpt cited n. 10(1). 
" Ltr, Connolly to Giles, 16 Nov 44. AG 686 Dhahran, Hq AMET. 


Frantic Mission, was established to carry out the shuttle-bombing 
operations. Late in February General Connolly was notified that he 
would be responsible for supplying Frantic Mission and that all air 
shipments required in the establishment of Frantic would be routed 
through the Persian Corridor. 32 

By the end of March agreement with the Soviets was reached that 
U.S. personnel would arrive at Frantic bases via Tehran where 
Connolly would secure group visas for them from the Soviet Embassy. 83 

Construction of airstrips with steel mats and necessary buildings 
on the sites agreed upon at Poltava, Mirgorod, and Piryatin in the 
Ukraine, was begun in the spring of 1944. These bases were completed 
in May and the first shuttle-flight landings were made in June 1944 by 
seventy-three Fortresses which had left Italy and bombed a German 
airdrome at Debrecen, Hungary. 34 

The PGC acted as the services of supply or base section to the 
Eastern Command. Items for issue to Frantic Mission were requi- 
sitioned by PGC and transported through PGC to the bases. Three 
types of transport were used in the Persian Gulf area : motor, rail, and 
air. PGC co-ordinated emergency shipments by air and sorted and 
transshipped necessary items. 

In addition to requisitioning supplies, providing motor vehicles and 
rail cars, and co-ordinating air shipments, PGC arranged for uniform 
billing and marking to insure prompt delivery to the Eastern Com- 
mand; stored supplies for which transportation was not immediately 
available; and co-ordinated with the Soviets in Tehran the proper 
clearance of personnel and cargo. Shipments were routed through 
Tehran and Tabriz, and Moscow and Poltava were advised when 
supplies left both points. 

Though the first echelon for Frantic Mission entered the USSR 
from the PGC on 25 February 1944, major personnel shipments were 
not begun until 22 April. These went overland from Cairo to Hamadan 
under British auspices. From Hamadan, MTS transported them to 
Tabriz, at which point the Soviets provided for the remaining portion 
of the trip. All records testify to the comfort and efficiency of the 
accommodations provided by the Soviets over that part of the men's 
journey which lay within their borders. Altogether 1,276 persons were 
shipped through the PGC to the Eastern Command. 35 

12 Memo, Col N. M. Martin for Lt Col Augustus H. Martin, 7 Jun 44, sub: Establish- 
ment of the Eastern Comd, USSTAF. PGF 237. 

" Deane, The Strange Alliance, p. 112. 

" EXeane, The Strange Alliance, pp. 118-21. 

" (1) Memo cited n. 32. (2) Memo, 1st Lt William G. Lerchen, Jr., for Ex Off to 
CofS, Hq, PGC, 21 Jul 44, sub: Status of Eastern Comd Project. PGF 237. 


Aside from supplying the shuttle bases in the USSR, PGC gave 
technical assistance, established a replacement pool, and assumed 
medical responsibility for Frantic Mission. 

During July 1944 PGC was concerned with plans for the staging 
and transportation to Poltava of the 427th Night Fighter Squadron, 
but this project, called Mission 16, was abandoned in August. 36 

The shuttle bases served eighteen missions in the early summer of 
1944; but two developments shortened the life of Frantic. First, the 
Germans promptly harried Poltava, beginning on 22 June, only twenty 
days after the first landings there by American shuttle bombers. Then 
later, as the fighting front receded westward, the usefulness of the 
bases diminished. On 24 September the withdrawal of Eastern Com- 
mand personnel was ordered. Four days later, General Deane notified 
PGC that two trains would leave Poltava on 2 and 9 October, re- 
spectively, carrying 40 officers and 360 enlisted men each. Some per- 
sonnel were to be evacuated by air and 200 were to remain at Poltava 
for the winter. PGC was responsible for the evacuation of all supplies 
and personnel and, throughout the winter, continued to send supplies 
to the winter detachment remaining at Poltava. The last U.S. soldier 
left the Ukraine in April 1 945 . 3T 

The total logistical support given Frantic Mission by the PGC is 
difficult to estimate on the basis of available statistics. The MRS trans- 
ported 8,5 13 long tons of Eastern Command cargo north of Andimeshk 
from June through September 1944. 38 To this figure must be added the 
amount of cargo evacuated from the Eastern Command by MRS as 
well as the contribution of the MTS which carried personnel and cargo 
to Tabriz and \vhich also evacuated supplies from Tabriz during 
September and October. 

The Command and Project LUX 

In the fall of 1944 an urgent need for 500 cargo trucks developed 
in the China-Burma-India theater. Some forward air bases had been 
lost or were about to be lost so that supplies could no longer be flown 
to the front. Trucks were needed to transport goods along the ever 
lengthening supply lines. The most logical source for these was the 
Persian Gulf Command which was assembling trucks for the Soviets, 
whose requirements by late 1944 were beginning to decline. The diffi- 

" Extracts, Rpts, Ex Off to CofS. PGF 25 1-A, B. 

" (1) Deane, The Strange Alliance, p. 124. (2) Rpt, Eastern Command, based on un- 
dated Memos by Col Martin, Ex Off to CofS. PGF 237. 

ted Memos by 



culty lay in getting the trucks from the PGC to China. All of China's 
ports were in the hands of the enemy and the Burma Road was still 
closed. The one open route was from Iran through Turkestan Soviet 
So cialist Republic and Sinkiang Province in China to Kunming. (Map 
| l-\-inside back cover) This route was peppered with obstacles. It wound 
through some of the most difficult terrain in the world — plateau, desert, 
and mountain. None of it was well mapped, the climate was known 
to be extremely cold, and the territory was inhabited by hostile 
nomads. 39 

On 4 October 1944, a cable signed by General Marshall was dis- 
patched to General Connolly stating that 500 trucks were to be trans- 
ferred from PGC to CBI. The cable stipulated that PGC personnel 
would convoy the trucks and that PGC and CBI would decide whether 
personnel would be retained by CBI after their arrival. MTS trucks 
or Soviet vehicles were to be used. 

Planning for the operation was delegated to Headquarters, MTS, 
until 31 October 1944, when the project was officially entitled Lux 
and a separate headquarters for it was established within the PGC. 
Liaison officers from CBI were attached to the new organization. 

The total convoy strength, as planned, was to be 1,100 including 
two quartermaster trucking battalions, one maintenance company, and 
engineer, signals, and medical detachments. PGC and CBI disagreed 
as to plans for the disposal of convoy personnel upon completion of the 
mission. CBI wished to retain the drivers as there were no surplus 
trained drivers in that theater. PGC maintained that it could not con- 
tinue its operations at full tilt with a deduction of 1 , 1 00 men. Shrinkage 
in MTS operations by November enabled the War Department to 
settle the matter by allocating Lux convoy personnel to CBI. Disagree- 
ment also arose over troops, CBI insisting that only white troops be 
used in China, while PGC urged that the proportion of Negroes be the 
same as existed in the command. PGC was overruled on this point, also, 
and convoy personnel included no Negro troops. 

The Lux convoy route as mapped out was estimated at 8,000 miles. 
From Ashkhabad in Turkestan SSR for 3,000 miles to Sary-Uzek, the 
convoy was to be transported by the Trans-Turkestan Railway. The 
remaining 5,000 miles were to be covered by truck convoy. The ad- 

" ( 1 ) The sources for this section are Hist Rpt by Lt Col Charles E. Stilson, Ex Off 
of Movement 59003, 29 Dec 44, PGF 164; other Hist Rpts and photographs, Oct-Dec 44, 
same file; six unnumbered folders on Project Lux (Movement 59003), AG Files, Hq PGC; 
and HOTI, Pt. VII, Ch. 3, History of Project Lux, by Victor H. Pentlarge, Jr., PGF. 
(2) A fuller treatment of Lux appears in Charles F. Romanus and Riley Sunderland, The 
U.S. Army and the China-Burma-India Theaters: Vol. II, Command Problems, 1943-1944, 
a volume now in preparation in this series. 


vance party was scheduled to leave Ahwaz on 30 November 1944 with 
eleven serials following. It was calculated that the whole movement 
would take about three months. 

The Soviets agreed to release to Project Lux 493 trucks already 
assigned to them. They further offered to transport the whole convoy 
over about one third of its journey, through Turkestan, and to render 
substantial assistance in the way of food, communications, and gaso- 
line. Final plans assigned the convoy 500 vehicles: 423 2 /2-ton 6x4 
Studebaker trucks, each with a 1-ton trailer; 50 winch-equipped 6x6 
cargo trucks ; 20 weapons carriers ; 3 command cars ; and 4 ambulances. 
Provision was also made for the amounts of gasoline, food, and water 
to be carried, allowance being made for possible restocking along the 
route; arctic clothing and other equipment were duly planned for, as 
were communication facilities for the convoy. Lt. John Clark, a CBI 
expert on North China who was flown to Tehran as adviser to Lux, 
felt that if the convoy displayed insignia and properly identified itself, 
it would pass unscathed through certain parts of Kansu Province where, 
since mid-July, intermittent mining and raiding had been occurring. 
On the other hand, information transmitted by the Soviet Foreign 
Office through the American Embassy at Moscow indicated disturbance 
along the convoy route in Sinkiang so severe as to make postponement 
of the movement of trucks to China, in Soviet opinion, highly desirable. 
Confirmation came shortly afterward from Maj. Gen. Albert C. Wede- 
meyer, Commanding General, U.S. Forces, China theater, that dis- 
turbances around the city of I-ning were increasing. General Deane 
radioed from Moscow that the Soviet Government would not now un- 
dertake to assist the agreed movement through Turkestan, and General 
Connolly decided to hold up the convoy at Ahwaz. 

On 30 November, the day the convoy was to have set out, the War 
Department advised that final decision on the convoy's departure would 
come from Washington. On 7 December General Wedemeyer notified 
the War Department that conditions in Sinkiang were growing worse 
and indefinite postponement of Project Lux would be justified. Two 
days later, General Marshall cabled Connolly that the War Depart- 
ment wished to move Lux convoy by water to Calcutta and from there 
overland to China as soon as the Burma Road could be used. Connolly 
replied that more rapid delivery could be made by sending the convoy 
to Zahidan and thence by rail to Karachi and across India. General 
Wedemeyer thought that time thus saved would not justify wear and 
tear on the trucks. 

The original route and all alternatives except General Marshall's 
were abandoned, and it was finally decided to move the convoy in ac- 


cordance with the Chief of Staff's cable. New plans were therefore 
developed in the PGC to crate and ship Lux cargo vehicles to Calcutta 
for later reassembly; to leave behind trailers and special vehicles not 
needed for the new route; and to ship a few other vehicles already 
assembled. Its planning function ended, the organization at PGC head- 
quarters which had been responsible for Project Lux since 31 October 
was inactivated on 17 December. The operation proceeded to Calcutta 
by three ships, the first of which left the Persian Gulf on 24 December 
1944, and the movement of all echelons of Lux from the Persian Gulf 
to Kunming was completed on 12 March 1945. The route, covering 
1,775 miles, used ships to Calcutta, rail to Assam, and the Burma Road 
beyond Assam. No part of the original cargo was lost in transit. Thus, 
after a good deal of planning and a great heave of performance, PGC 
discharged this service to CBI without interfering with its primary 


The Air Corps Takes Over 
Aircraft Assembly 

The assembly of aircraft for the USSR under the several protocol 
agreements, by which the United States in conjunction with the United 
Kingdom and the Dominion of Canada promised material aid to the 
Soviet Union, was one of the tasks assigned to the Iranian Mission and 
continued by its successors. In accordance with the pattern of the 1941 
planning period, operating responsibility for aircraft assembly at 
Abadan was at first exercised by the Douglas Aircraft Company under 
contract to the U.S. Army Air Corps. During the period of Douglas 
operation, ending on 31 March 1943, about seventy-five planes on an 
average were delivered monthly to Soviet pilots who flew them off 
to the battle lines. During the period of Air Corps operation, from 
1 April 1943 through 31 January 1945, when the Abadan aircraft 
assembly plant was disbanded, deliveries to the Russians averaged 
182.9 aircraft monthly. The flow of aircraft from the United States to 
the USSR was greatest during the period of the Third ( London ) Pro- 
tocol, 1 July 1943 through 30 June 1944, when 5,735 planes were de- 
livered by the United States to the Russians at Fairbanks, Alaska, the 
north Russian ports of Archangel and Murmansk, and via the Persian 
Gulf. In this year, 2,902 aircraft were delivered by the U.S. Army in 
the Persian Corridor. During the peak year of American shipments of 
aircraft to the USSR, Abadan, therefore, accounted for half of all the 
aircraft delivered, in contrast to its one third share of the total made 
available by all routes for the entire period of lend-lease deliveries. 1 

The Pressure of the Protocols 

The ability of the American command to raise the average monthly 
output of assembled planes by almost 150 percent and to handle half 

fab le 1U.I C21 Report on War Aid Furnishedby the United States to the USSR, 

I. ... , ,,.-> E 

1 (1) TaDie i u. 1 1 i. ) n.epori on war /\ia rurnisnea Dy tne unuea aiaies to me uoan, 
Foreifrn Economic Sec, Office of Foreign Liquidation, Dept State, 28 Nov 45. (3) See also 
" iart3.| 


the total world-wide deliveries during the peak year can be ascribed to 
the increase in manpower and resources which followed militarization 
of the project in April 1943. But this increase was not always com- 
mensurate with the flow of incoming aircraft. Throughout the life of 
the assembly task, the struggle against the backlog remained, as during 
the period of contractor operation, the chief problem to be surmounted. 
In ordinary assembly operations where the quantity of materials may 
vary it is customary to maintain a fairly constant backlog to provide 
continuity of production. But assembly of aircraft for the USSR was 
not an ordinary operation. Provision of the maximum number of planes 
for use against the enemy made the reduction of backlog to zero the 
desirable but unattainable ideal. Furthermore, the accumulation on 
the ground of serviceable aircraft was a constant invitation to enemy 
bombing raids. The fact that no such raids took place did not cancel 
out the wisdom of providing against their possible occurrence. The 
battle of the backlog may seem merely of statistical significance, a hum- 
drum matter of figures which ought to balance : so ma ny arrivals, so 
many assemblies, so many deliveries. (TablefTty anc\ 1 \, Appendix A) 
It was actually anything but humdrum. Creatures ofthe unexpected 
and the unpredictable, the figures measure success or failure in the 
effort to meet inexorable protocol demands. 

There was, in the first place, the highly variable rate of arrivals 
which never could be systematically co-ordinated with the supply of 
manpower. One reads, for example, the message sent in April 1943 
from General Sidney Spalding in Washington to Averell Harriman 
at London. The Prime Minister had just forwarded to Harry Hopkins 
a proposal for the British to ship 285 aircraft due from them under the 
protocols to the USSR via Abadan. The Abadan plant was then in the 
throes of transition from civilian to military operation; but Washing- 
ton approved, stating, "This number of airplanes may temporarily 
overload erection facilities and result in some delay in delivery to 
Russia. Army Air Force agrees to strengthen Abadan as much as pos- 
sible to facilitate erection of the 285 airplanes." 2 It was up to Abadan 
after that, whether or not the strengthening was achieved in time or 

Then there was the weather, that unappreciated hobgoblin of the 
Persian Corridor. As of 1 April, when the Air Corps took over Douglas's 
Cedar Project, what a report calls "unusual weather conditions" had 
for some time prevented the take-off of completed planes from Abadan 
with the result that 107 of them waited at the field to be flown away. 

2 Rad, Gen Sidney Spalding to Harriman, 23 Apr 43, cited MS Index to the Hopkins 
Papers, Vol. II, Bk. VII, Lend-Lease Aid to Russia (1942-43), p. 5, Item 48. 


This kind of situation offered continuing obstacles to the smooth flow of 
the assembly and delivery process. To cite a further example of the 
unpredictable, on 1 April, among the 192 aircraft on hand which were 
either not yet assembled or not yet put into serviceable condition were 
16 P-40's immobilized because their belly fuel tanks had been borrowed 
by the Russians to enable them to fly out Spitfires delivered to them at 
Abadan by the RAF without auxiliary tanks. These were among a lot 
of 50 Spitfires being delivered to the USSR by the RAF in return for 
40 Bostons lent by the Russians to the British the previous summer 
during the crisis in the fighting in Egypt. Not a week passed without its 
quota of similar problems requiring special adjustment and solution in 
a hurry. They must be read between the lines of the humdrum story. 3 

Manpower, Procedures, and Production 

On 1 April 1943 Colonel Porter, commanding officer of Abadan 
Air Base and of headquarters, 82d Air Depot Group, had at his dis- 
posal 436 officers and men of the Air Forces, of whom 334 were mem- 
bers of the 1 7th Depot Repair Squadron which had been on detached 
service with the 82d Air Depot Group since January, learning from 
the Douglas civilians the special points of assembly at Abadan. There 
were also 165 Soviet operatives and 54 native laborers; but of the 193 
Douglas civilians at the site on that date, only 125 stayed to the end of 
the month. Of these only 55 were of the former Cedar Project, the rest 
being borrowed from the Douglas Project 19 at Gura, Eritrea. Some 
civilians, their contracts concluded, were returned to the United States. 
Although this working force delivered 214 aircraft to the USSR in 
April, a peak figure to that date, the backlog at the end of the month 
was 235. Progress in one direction was vitiated by backsliding in the 
other. It was a time for strengthening manpower. But just at this point, 
on 2 May, the 17th Depot Repair Squadron departed to join the Ninth 
Air Force in North Africa, leaving Colonel Porter with a serious man- 
power shortage. An appeal to General Connolly for the loan of 36 
enlisted men for thirty days was refused on the grounds of personnel 
shortage in the command generally ; but the visit to Abadan on 1 6 May 
of Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Air 
Forces, resulted in a requisition being made on Washington to ship 65 
men. It did not help the immediate situation that in April the 18th 
Depot Repair Squadron of 10 officers and 338 enlisted men had been 
shipped from the United States to replace the 17th. The 18th did not 

'Ltr, Capt A. B. Swank, Contl Div, Hq, PGSC, to CofS, PGSC, 18 Apr 43, sub: 
Status of Aircraft Deliveries at Abadan. PGF 2. 


arrive until 12 July, by which time the backlog had risen to 550. Mean- 
while deliveries dropped in May to 152. in June to 96. The backlog 
exceeded 200. With some Douglas civilians borrowed from Gura to 
make a total of 185 for June, and with 140 officers and men of the 82d 
Air Depot Group, Colonel Porter faced the rising backlog with only 
slightly over half the Americans, military and civilian, that were at 
Abadan three months earlier. June also brought word from Patterson 
Field, Ohio, that nearly 300 aircraft would reach Abadan in July 
for processing. To intensify the crisis, the number that arrived exceeded 
490. With its working force cut in half, Abadan faced its biggest work 
load. Patterson Field advised Colonel Porter to inform the British at 
Basra that the RAF representatives in Washington had been told that 
the RAF in Iraq could expect to be called upon to help out at Abadan. 
This appears something like the "strengthening" mentioned in Wash- 
ington in April in connection with the extra shipment arranged between 
Churchill and Harry Hopkins. Colonel Porter, 12,000 miles nearer 
reality than Washington, replied that the RAF was itself undermanned 
and could not supply the help it had offered on an earlier occasion. 4 

The arrival of the 18th Depot Repair Squadron on 12 July would 
ease matters somewhat after the new men had learned their jobs; but 
meanwhile Abadan buzzed with a hornet's nest of administrative com- 
plications. Command and responsibility at the assembly plant were not 
clearly denned during the contractor period, nor were they any clearer 
in early July 1943. The plant came under the Commanding General, 
PGSC. Immediate administrative supervision over its activities was 
delegated by him to the commanding officer of the geographical sub- 
area of the PGSC, Basra District. But PGSC came under USAFIME 
at Cairo, and Abadan was subject in technical matters not only to 
USAFIME's air officer, but to Air Corps authority in the United 
States. On 13 July Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, commanding general 
of USAFIME, protested to General Arnold by message to Washington 
that certain orders had gone direct from America to Abadan, as a 

* ( 1 ) Ltr, Col Porter to Douglas Company, 26 Apr 43, quoted Harold Courlander, Paul 
L. Hoefier, and others, History of Project 19, Abadan Ch., pp. 65—87. Drawer 101, Douglas 
Files. (2) Backlog and arrival figures from tables compiled by Hist Br, OTI, Hq, PGC. 
PGF 245. See also tables, PGF 2, 125. (3) Rad 148, Col Porter, signed Connolly, to Patterson 
Field, Ohio, relayed to Washington AGWAR 1664, 30 Jun 43. PGF 2. (4) Rad AMPSC 
340, Gen Marshall to Gens Brereton and Connolly, 4 Mar 43. PGF 2. (5) Hist Rpt, Abadan 
Air Base, for Nov 41 through Nov 43, 1 Jul 44. PGF 2-K. (6) Ltr, Col Porter to Col Harry 
S. Bishop, CO, Project 19, Gura, 26 Jun 43. Drawer 211, Status Reports — Project 19 and 
Combined, Douglas Files. (7) HOTI, Pt. II, Ch. 1, The Abadan Aircraft Assembly Plant 
(and Air Base), by Wallace P. Rusterholtz, p. 5. PGF. (8) HOTI, Pt. I, Ch. 8, sec. 3, 
History of Movements Branch, Operations Division, Hq, PGC, prepared by Movements 
Branch, Operations Division, with Supplement by Laurence P. Corbett, and statistical appen- 
dix, Complete Summary of Port and Transportation Agencies Performance of PGC Operations 
through 31 May 1945, 5 July 1945, p. 62. PGF. 


result of which "there is a great deal of confusion." 5 Brereton insisted 
that responsibility for aircraft assembly at Abadan must rest with the 
Commanding General, PGSC. Arnold's reply admitted that direct or- 
ders had been sent "in the interest of expediting this important project 
and thereby assisting your headquarters," adding, "One cannot over- 
stress the importance of the accomplishment of the mission of this 
establishment for which you are fully responsible," that is, the Com- 
manding General, USAFIME, not the Commanding General, PGSC. 8 

On 14 July, as a sequel to Colonel Porter's attempts to obtain 
personnel from Gura, the RAF, and the American command, General 
Brereton noted, in a message to Porter, the existence of "confusion 
concerning requests for assistance," and that Porter had been receiving 
"functional instructions" direct from the Air Service Command, Pat- 
terson Field, Ohio. Brereton added, "Responsibilities and administra- 
tion of Abadan are a responsibility of CG, PGSC, with direct communi- 
cation to Air Service Command, Patterson Field on technical matters 
only." 7 On 29 July, Headquarters, PGSC, set forth a clarification, 
authorized by Washington and Cairo. The Abadan aircraft assembly 
plant and all related activities on Abadan Island were placed under 
the "jurisdiction and control of the Commanding General, PGSC, 
except that direct communication with Patterson Field, Ohio, has been 
authorized for technical matters only." The Commanding Officer, Gulf 
District (Basra District was thus redesignated in May), PGSC, was 
"responsible for supervising and co-ordinating the activities of the 
Abadan Aircraft Assembly Plant," and was to handle administrative, 
operational, and supply matters on behalf of the commanding general 
in the same manner as other assembly plant operations within the 
command. The Operations Division, Headquarters, PGSC, was made 
responsible for "general supervision and documentation," and for estab- 
lishing monthly production targets in consultation with the command- 
ing officers of the plant and of Gulf District. On 24 August the functions 
of Operations Division respecting Abadan were assigned to its Plants 
Branch. 8 Thus a local modus operandiwas established within the frame- 
work of the PGSC, itself within the framework of USAFIME, while 
the Air Corps at Patterson Field kept its finger upon the technical 

While this was going on, the plant raised production in July to 

• Rad AMSMEAF 1627, Gen Brereton to Gen Arnold, 13 Jul 43. AG 600.12, Hq AMET. 

'Rad, Gen Arnold to Gen Brereton, 15 Jul 43. AG 600.12, Hq AMET. 

' Rad AMPSC, AMSMEAF P-28, Gen Brereton to Col Porter, 14 Jul 43. PGF 2. 

" (1) GO 45, Hq, PGSC, 29 Jul 43. (2) Rad, Gen Scott to Col Donald P. Booth, 
24 Aug 43. AG 635 Abadan Aircraft Assembly Plant, Hq PGC. (3) Hist Rpt, Plants Br, 
Opns Div, Hq, PGC, for Aug 43. PGF 125-H. 


141 ; but this was highly unsatisfactory to the Russians. On 28 July 
General Arnold notified General Brereton at Cairo that "Russian offi- 
cials in Washington" were requesting "immediate action ... to as- 
sure assembly of 300 aircraft per month." 9 The Russians complained 
that assembly was inadequate, and that insufficiently protected planes 
lying about in crates at Basra and Margil invited local sabotage. It de- 
veloped that there had been confusion at these landing ports as to the 
responsibility for the safety of cargoes of U.S. aircraft consigned to 
the British but to be diverted to the USSR. The Americans assumed the 

In August, although new arrivals of aircraft had fallen to 275 and 
deliveries had risen to 204, the backlog exceeded 600. It was now Gen- 
eral Connolly's turn to appeal for additional help. In early September 
he informed General Brereton that he would require 19 officers and 
270 enlisted men to meet the new monthly quota of 300 aircraft. 10 He 
did not get them immediately ; but Abadan did come in promptly for 
a visit from Maj. Gen. Ralph Royce who had just succeeded Brereton 
as commanding general of USAFIME. Washington had inquired why 
the rate of delivery at Abadan had declined during August. Royce re- 
plied that he would report to General Arnold after personal investiga- 
tion. He radioed on 26 September that Abadan was "a very disorgan- 
ized installation," with insufficient officers, men, and equipment to 
complete its mission. 11 Colonel Porter, who had borne the burden and 
heat of the day for the past nineteen months, had been returned to the 
United States on 11 September. He was followed by four successive 
commanding officers in three months, after whom two more served out 
the time that remained until the plant was closed down in January 
1945. 12 Continuity of operations for a time, therefore, largely depended 
upon the Douglas civilians, who were veterans of longest service, upon 
the military force, and upon the supervisory functions exercised by 
Plants Branch, Operations Division. 

The full force of the increased deliveries under the London Proto- 
col now began to reach the Persian Gulf. In September, in spite of the 

' Rad AMSME 5991, Gen Arnold to Gen Brereton, 28 Jul 43, AG 323.3 Abadan, Hq PGC. 
"Rads, Gen Connolly to Gen Brereton, 7 and 14 Sep 43. AG 600.12 Abadan, Hq AMET. 

11 (1) Rad 6758, to Gen Royce, 12 Sep 43. Notebook North African Mission, Vol. II, 
Africa ME Office, OPD. (2) Rad AMSME 8162, Gen Royce to Gens Marshall and Arnold, 
26 Sep 43. AG 400.3295 Russia, Hq AMET. 

12 After Colonel Porter the commanding officers were : Lt. Col. Richard J. Kirkpatrick 
(11 Sep-29 Oct 43) ; Lt. Col. Cedric B. Davis (29 Oct-4 Nov 43) ; Col. James L. Jackson 
(4 Nov-3 Dec 43) ; Col. Phillip A. Roll (3-9 Dec 43) ; Colonel Davis' (9 Dec 43-30 Aug 44) ; 
Lt. Col. Chester E. McCartv from 30 Aug 44. (1) GO 8, Hq, Abadan Air Base, 30 Aug 44. 
Hist Rpts, Abadan Air Base, (2) Dec 43, PGF 2-L; (3) for Nov 41 through Nov 43, 1 Jul 44, 
PGF 2-K. 


succession of commanding officers at Abadan, deliveries reached 253 
aircraft. But the backlog rose ominously to 670. On 1 October 1943 ad- 
ditional Air Corps personnel reached the site, 100 of them earmarked 
to move on to India as soon as the state of the backlog permitted. With 
this extra force at work, October deliveries of 395 aircraft struck the 
maximum attained at any time during the life of the project; but the 
inflow of new planes provided an unwelcome reservoir of 829 awaiting 
assembly on 10 October. This was also a peak figure, and a challenge 
to the approximately 500 military personnel and 69 Douglas civilians 
at the plant. 13 By their efforts the figure receded to 607 at the end of 
the month, and fell below 100 by the end of January 1944. Although 
it was to rise again by mid- July to 155, the tide turned in October 1943 
and t he battle of the backlog was finally won. 

In | Table 10| can be read the story of deliveries to the USSR during 
the rest of 1943 and the year 1944. Progress during 1944 was such that 
on 19 July General Marshall informed General Connolly that, as soon 
as aircraft on hand and en route were delivered to the Russians, the 
War Department planned to disband the plant. After one or two post- 
ponements that time came on 1 February 1945, when operational re- 
sponsibility for remaining work at the plant was assigned, upon its 
disbandment, to the Air Transport Command. Ninety-one officers and 
men were transferred to the ATC and 244 shipped to the United 
States. 14 

Abadan Air Base 

The falling off of shipments of incoming aircraft which occurred 
after the end of the London Protocol period in June 1944 initiated the 
declining curve of assemblies at Abadan ; but meantime there had been 
steadily increasing activity at the Abadan Air Base, to which the ATC 
had moved from Basra in June 1943 when the field at Margil proved too 
small for its expanding mission. On 12 August 1944, with assembly op- 
erations at Abadan entering their last lap, came official recognition that 
the function of Abadan Air Base had shifted from assembly to air oper- 
ations. On that date the 82d Air Depot Group and the 18th Depot 
Repair Squadron were disbanded, and their personnel and equipment 
transferred to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Abadan Air 
Base, with an aggregate strength of 26 officers and 502 enlisted men, 

" The contracts of the civilians expired in December 1943 and they returned to the United 
States with a commendation from General Royce dated 10 October 1943. Drawer 69, 
Termination of Project 19, Douglas Files. 

11 II) Rad 67209, Gen Marshall to Gen Connolly, 19 Jul 44. AG 635 Abadan Aircraft 
Assembly Plant, Hq PGC (2) GO 22, Hq, PGC, 31 Jan 45. (3) Hist Rpt, Abadan Air 
Base, for Jan 45. PGF 2-Y. 


plus 100 enlisted men attached additionally as Air Corps unassigned. 15 
The commander of the base was responsible for remaining assembly op- 
erations, while Plants Branch, Operations Division, handled production 
schedules, processed requisitions, and, with the Gulf District comman- 
der, supplied advisory staff functions chiefly relating to over-all produc- 
tion and target obligations. But in all other respects Abadan had be- 
come a busy airfield, with its transient planes and passengers and all 
the elaborate installations required to serve them. By the time the 
ATC took over completely on 1 February 1945, Abadan was mightily 
transformed from the relatively unimproved space three miles north of 
the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company refinery to which the first American 
workers came early in 1942. 

That is why, in July 1944, there was a considerable to-do over the 
report that the AIOC contemplated buying the land on which the 
Americans had lavished their peculiar talents for doing things on the 
grand scale. "Without notifying us," General Connolly radioed to 

AIOC . . . has applied to the Iranian Government on this transaction. We have 
requested the American Embassy to initiate necessary action to stop the purchase 
of this land until Washington has advised us on the situation. This transaction 
vitally hampers our possibilities for disposition of our enormous investment or for 
our postwar rights to mediate in operation of airfields. 16 

American rights to occupy the land next the refinery were informal, not 
to say tenuous. The Douglas Aircraft Company came in by virtue of a 
purely verbal agreement, there being "no lease or any other form of 
written agreement" between them and AIOC, or between AIOC and 
the United States Government. 17 United States operation of the Abadan 
assembly plant had of course been a matter of Anglo-American under- 
standing in Washington in January 1942, but the legality of land 
occupancy had not been established by formal document. 18 Much later, 
after the ATC had moved to Abadan and had undertaken its program 
to expand facilities there for regular flights, the Commanding General, 
USAFIME, received on 27 January 1944 from headquarters of the 
RAF, Middle East, a statement of British willingness to prepare air- 
fields for ATC use which contained no reference to terms, tenure, or 

1S (1) GO 53, Hq, PGC, 12 Aug 44. (2) Hist Rpt, Abadan Air Base, for Aug 44. 
PGF 2-T. 

1S Rad, Gen Connolly to Gens Somervell, Arnold, and Maj Gen Thomas T. Handy, 1 Jul 44. 
095 AIOC, SL 8979. 

17 1st Ind, 28 Dee 43, to Ltr, Chief, Cons Br, OPD, PGC, to CO, Gulf Tist, PGC, 
22 Dec 43. 095 Douglas Aircraft Company, SL 8979. 

18 Rad AMSIR 10, to Gen Wheeler, 21 Jan 42, on agreement at Washington between 
Gens Sidney Spalding and Moore and British RAF representatives. MID 400.3295 1-21-42 


leases. This paper has been described as "the only documentary form of 
agreement . . . covering U.S. Army use of the subject field." 10 The mat- 
ter became engulfed in the infinite maw of official files on both sides of 
the Atlantic. The United States remained in occupancy of Abadan 
until the end of its operations in Iran in 1945, and its property rights in 
buildings and installations there were duly adjusted as a part of the 
postwar settlements with the United Kingdom and the government of 

In a story which has necessarily concentrated, as did the sweating 
men who made their contribution at Abadan, upon the assembly and 
delivery of thousands of aircraft for Russia, the human factor has been 
submerged under the facts of human achievement. It was a job by men 
for men, even though there were times when, as the Russians felt, the 
machine, not the man, was irreplaceable and of prime importance. But 
there were other times when men counted as men : such highlights as 
the visit of the Shah to the plant in February 1944, and the good-will 
party also held that month for forty Soviet officers headed by Maj. 
Gen. Ivan I. Obrazkov, commandant of the Soviet air detachment at 
Abadan. 20 On that night, the oratory, heard over the clinking of glasses, 
made much of the co-operation of the United States and the Soviet 
Union in providing craft for Soviet fighters. The echoes of that eve- 
ning's celebration have long since faded in the clangor and hissing of 
the near-by refinery. But the fact of that co-operation and its fruits is 
something time cannot alter. 

Tucked away in the files is a mimeographed sheet handed to the 
men of the 18th Depot Repair Squadron as they arrived in July 1943. 21 
It cannot now be read as they read it in the burning heat of unfamiliar 
Abadan but it will serve as a reminder of the human factor : 

This depot is an International Settlement. You will work with American 
Soldiers, highly skilled American civilian technicians, a detachment of the USSR 
Air Corps . . . RAF, Iranians, Iraqi, Arabians, and Indians. Such success in our 
work as we have had has been built on the cooperation and mutual understanding 
among these groups. It is essential that this "good will" be maintained and we 
count on you to maintain it. Due to the heat, our meal and work schedule is as 
follows : 

3:30 early morning coffee; 3:55 muster at hangars; 4:00-7:30 first work 
period ; 7 : 30-8 : 00 second breakfast ; 8 : 00-1 2 : 00 second work period ; 12 : 30 lunch ; 
13:30 bus leaves mess hall for swimming (Sats thru Thurs) ; 17:45 dinner; 20:00 
movies (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday). 

19 3d Ind, by AGO, Washington, 9 Jun 45, to Ltr, ACofS, Opns, Hq, PGC, to CG, 
U.S. AAF, Washington, 6 Apr 45. 092 Agreement Concerning Use of Abadan Air Field, 
SL 8978. The RAF letter was titled Development of North African Air Route to India. 

20 Hist Rpt, Abadan Air Base, for Feb 44. PGF 2-N. 
" Signed by Colonel Porter. PGF 2. 


If you find this camp a bit rough at first remember that many of us have been 
here for over a year and raised what we have from the open desert. You will join in 
completing the new PX and other construction needed, so that we can all enjoy 
a more comfortable camp. You will be able to make your own barracks more 
comfortable during your free periods in the afternoons and evenings. Lumber is 

. . . Every additional aircraft that we can send North now, may save hundreds 
of American lives next year. Working together we can top our best production 



The Army Takes Over the 


General Connolly's primary mission, movement of supplies through 
the Persian Corridor to Soviet receiving points, did not preclude his 
continuing unfinished tasks in British or Russian aid undertaken by 
predecessor American commands. Assembly of partly knocked-down 
vehicles at some point in their journey to destination was unfinished 
business of this sort; but it was also a part of the transportation process. 
After the Army took over the truck assembly plants on 1 July 1943, 
there was no change in the pattern of assembly and delivery set during 
the contractor period. The vehicles were processed as before, and 
driven away, as before, by Soviet drivers over the road to Khurrama- 
bad and Malayer, east to Sultanabad, and north to Tehran. There 
were changes, though, in quantity and tempo. More trucks by far 
arrived from overseas than during the earlier period, and there were 
more Americans, more natives, and more machines to deal with them. 
Working 59 percent of the period of truck assembly operation, the 
Army assembled for all purposes 82 percent of the vehicles. Because 
there was so much more to do, it was done faster. The figures measure 
increased work load and increased capacity. They do not imply less 
efficiency for the contractor period. 1 


In July 1943 four TAP's with which the American command was 
concerned were in service. TAP I at Andimeshk and TAP II at 
Khorramshahr were American staffed and operated. TAP III at 

1 ( 1 ) A Brief Description of the Development and Present Operations of the Persian Gulf 
Command, prepared 31 Aug 44 for the Superintendent, U.S. Military Academy, and trans- 
mitted by Ltr, 24 Oct 44. Historical Report 1944, SL 8997. (2) This chapter makes extensive 
use of HOTI, Pf TT Chs 3- r i U.S. Truck Assembly Plants, by Laurence P. Corbett. 
PGF. (3) Tablep7|8|9land Chart(4|5l| 


Bushire, run by the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation with 
some American supervision and advice, ceased work in which there 
was American interest that month. At TAP IV, the British-operated 
plant at Rafadiyah, an American officer was stationed for purposes 
of liaison, collection of statistical data, comparison of methods, target, 
and output, and exchange of information. TAP IV's production 
affected that of the plants at Andimeshk and Khorramshahr— as when 
in August and September 1944 a stoppage at Rafadiyah, caused by 
change-over from Studebakers to Chevrolets, produced a production 
deficit which had to be made up by TAP's I and II to meet theater 
targets. In October 1944 TAP IV was closed down and TAP's I and II 
assumed the entire truck assembly load for the Persian Gulf. 

Under the structural organization of the American command, 
Plants Branch, Operations Division, was responsible for the direction, 
co-ordination, and operation of the TAP's. In this capacity, Plants 
Branch functioned like any headquarters staff agency. It computed 
and reported plant capacities, co-ordinated operations so that supply 
and output would be in balance and in accordance with headquarters 
policy, and established a statistical reporting system to serve the needs 
of over-all control and co-ordination of all agencies in the logistical 
process. Responsibility for administration, supply, training, security, 
and operation of the plants was decentralized and handed over to the 
local district commanders set up in December 1942 for the Gulf, 
Desert, and Mountain Districts. Between May and August 1943, the 
district commanders for the Gulf and Desert Districts, in their capaci- 
ties as deputies of the commanding general, set up procedures for 
operating the TAP's under technical instructions and directives pro- 
ceeding from GHQ. Officers were assigned in charge of the plant. 
They transmitted statistical information to Plants Branch. At 
Khorramshahr a Plants Branch suboffice was established by the Gulf 
District commander to provide more direct control. 2 

At Khorramshahr were detachments of the 3474th and the 506th 
Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Companies, as well as 
the 3455th Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Company; 
at Andimeshk, the 3467th Ordnance Medium Automotive Main- 
tenance Company. 3 The group at Khorramshahr had to contend with 
an initial hospitalization of 20 percent of its strength on account of 
the heat, as well as a heavy labor turnover among the native workmen. 

2 (1) Hist Rpt, Plants Br, Opns Div, Hq, PGSC, 22 Jul 43. PGF 125-F. (2) See also 
SO 68, Hq, PGC, 15 Mar 45. (3) HOTI, Pt. I, Ch. 8, sec. 5, History of the Plants Branch, 
Operations Division, Hq, PGC, by Laurence P. Corbett. PGF. 

"In January 1944 the 3556th Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Company 
was assigned to TAP II and the detachments of the 506th and 3474th were reassigned. 


At Andimeshk the newly arrived service troops went to work only 
four days after reaching Iran. A report treats with some bitterness 
of conditions at the take-over. The chief complaint was that General 
Motors, in striving to attain record production in its last month, had 
neglected the important duty of keeping the flow of incoming cased 
vehicles going, so that when the Army assumed responsibility on 1 July 
it found 280 freight cars of cased trucks standing unloaded in the 
yards. Furthermore, a drastic shortage of nuts, bolts, and spare parts 
meant that July production would have to wait for local manufacture 
of some parts and requisitioning of others. Finally, it was charged that 
the Army had to cope with claims by native laborers for pay increases 
and leaves of absence promised them by General Motors. The report 
stated that the Army had instituted three shifts a day and hoped by 
ironing out difficulties to get production on both assembly lines up to 
between sixty and a hundred trucks a day. 4 

It is not remarkable that the first month of operation under Army 
management failed to reach target levels. August brought a greater 
familiarity with the job and TAP I produced 923 vehicles above its 
target of 2,500 while TAP II bettered its target of 3,500 by 261. All 
hands received the commendation of General Connolly for fine August 

Problems connected with adapting American factory techniques 
to local conditions, problems growing out of ever present wearing out 
or shortages of tools and parts, production problems arising from neces- 
sary change-overs from time to time from Chevrolets to Fords to 
Studebakers to Mack trucks to Bren gun carriers to jeeps, very diffi- 
cult problems relating to batteries, and, above all, the eternal problem 
of the weather, ranging from half a foot of mud and water underfoot 
to unendurable heat overhead — these were routine at Andimeshk and 
Khorramshahr. With the essential pattern of assembly already estab- 
lished before it assumed operating responsibility, the Army settled 
down to routine production, improvement of methods, and the intro- 
duction of refinements in efficiency. Since the voluminous records of 
the activities were not kept according to a uniform plan, they provide 
no basis for statistical comparisons of periods. Some figures for TAP 
II indicate, however, the decided improvement in efficiency of 
operations in general at that plant. Tables for February 1945 show 
total assemblies 155 percent greater than for February 1944, accom- 
plished with an average daily employee roster only 68 percent of the 

4 Diary Report and Information on Condition of TAP I, Andimeshk, on Termination of 
General Motors Contract, by Capt Jack C. Schoo, Ord Sec, Opns, Plants Br, TAP I, 6 Jul 43. 
PGF 70. 


earlier date. Man-hours worked per vehicle were more than halved, 
and the labor cost per assembly, exclusive of the pay of military per- 
sonnel, was reduced in the year to 58 percent of similarly computed 
costs in the earlier month. 5 


The Army's performance represents the routine solution of many 
problems, four in particular. These were fitting truck assembly to the 
over-all logistical process within the theater, native labor, Russian 
checkup stations, and the question of damage and sabotage. 

The assembly in Iran of vehicles manufactured in the United 
States, to be delivered by highway or rail or both, was so closely re- 
lated to other links in the logistic chain as to require, for its smooth 
functioning, the most detailed co-ordination. Ideally, the port would 
be forewarned of the arrival of crated vehicles and thus be prepared 
to off-load cargoes promptly ; ideally, rolling stock would be at hand at 
the ports to convey the crates to the assembly plants where their arrival, 
known in advance, would be met by sufficient forces to unload, un- 
crate, denail, stack, store, or move them to the assembly line. All this 
meant planning at each step, from shipside in the United States on- 
ward, in accordance with totals and allocations agreed at the highest 
levels. As the logistic chain grew in length and distance from the 
United States, these broad strategic allocations narrowed and were 
transmitted into monthly, weekly, and daily plant targets, feverishly 
worked for by assembly-line crews. In the end those strategic quotas, 
set in Washington, Moscow, and London, were met by the sweating 
soldier-workman and his native helpers. 

Then, at the line's end, after an ideally smooth passage facilitated 
by a plenitude of tools and parts and accessories, the finished vehicle, 
having come up to manufacturers' specifications and having survived 
rigorous American and Soviet inspections, passed on in the logistic 
chain, northward toward the Soviet Union. Failure of any link, even 
lack of accurate statistical data, would be reflected immediately in 
operations. At the TAP's, daily tallies, accounting, and record-keeping 
were corrected by monthly inventories. If, for instance, a chalked tally 
written by a checker on a case being unloaded at the docks were rubbed 
off by contact with another case, a discrepancy in tallies would get into 
the records all along the line until caught by monthly inventory totals. 

"Computed from: (1) Hist Rpt, Plants Br, Opns Div, Hq, PGC, 6 Mar 45, Incl 4, 
Tabic, Truck Assembly Time and Cost per Truck Produced at TAP II, Khorramshahr, 
Period from Tul 43 through 31 Jan 45. PGF 125-Z. (2) Hist Rpt, TAP II, for Feb 45, 
9 Mar 45. PGF 23-Z. 


The even flow of vehicles was interrupted seriously when a cargo ship 
ran aground off port in the Persian Gulf in 1944. The results were a 
seven-day stoppage in September at TAP I, a monthly target missed, 
and insistent calls from the Soviets for the trucks they had planned for. 

The mechanism which regulated the machine was supplied by the 
Control and Plants Branches at headquarters in Tehran. By May 1943 
Control Branch was responsible for conducting monthly capacity and 
joint target meetings while Plants Branch was charged with collecting 
from the assembly plants statistics for use at those meetings, a develop- 
ment which coincided with the taking over by the PGSC from the 
British of cargo movements control for the Corridor. 

At the monthly joint target meetings, Plants Branch furnished an 
analysis of the USSR and PGSC cargo manifests, giving a detailed list, 
by make and model, of vehicles to arrive between the twenty-first of 
the current month and the twenty-first of the ensuing month, with a 
5-percent allowance for damaged or short-shipped vehicles. In com- 
puting the targets, district commanders submitted recommendations 
indicating the minimum and maximum production estimates for the 
coming month. In addition, a plant inventory was submitted estimating 
the production for the remaining part of the month so that the ap- 
proximate number of vehicles on hand for the next month's assembly 
could be determined. Plants Branch maintained liaison with the Rus- 
sians concerning truck assembly and with Control Branch concerning 
berthing schedules, arrival dates, and future scheduled arrivals of ves- 
sels carrying cased vehicles. After final agreement with the Soviets the 
monthly quota was fixed and all data forwarded to the district com- 
mander and to the commanding officers of the TAP's. 6 

Generally speaking, the native labor problem diminished as time 
went by and experience increased. When the TAP's came under Army 
operation the Andimeshk plant employed about 1,700 workmen ; Khor- 
ramshahr, about 2,200. These natives worked as foremen, group lead- 
ers, mechanics, truck conditioners, material handlers, unloaders, and 
crane operators. Being unskilled, they had to be taught as they worked, 
to the detriment of efficient operations. Initial turnover was as high as 
twenty to thirty daily separations for absenteeism, malingering, inapti- 
tude, or resignation. During the winter of 1943-44 there was some 
suffering by natives, who shivered in inadequate clothing on the night 
shifts. Work schedules varied: sometimes there were two shifts of 8 
hours; sometimes, a 10-hour day shift and a 9-hour night shift; and 
in March 1944 the night shift was dropped. 7 

6 Opns Div, PGC, Manual for Dec 44. 
"• Rpt cited n. 2 ( 1 ) . 


From then on, due to an increase in the local labor supply which 
enabled better men to be selected, a greater stability in labor conditions 
brought plant operations nearer to the techniques familiar in the 
United States. Improvement in native housing and messing, or ration- 
ing for those not housed at the site, plus introduction, in August 1943, 
of a wage incentive system rewarding production above a standard 
minimum, brought improvement in plant capacity. Workmen's com- 
pensation, however, introduced by General Motors, was modified by 
the Army, and the worker who had received pay for job-incurred in- 
juries and pay while hospitalized now found his wage stopped when 
he entered the hospital. Furthermore, after recovery he had to file a 
claim and only after it was approved did he receive his lost wages. In 
most cases this worked a hardship upon natives who lived from hand to 
mouth and had no accumulated reserves to call upon in time of need. 

Traditionally suspicious of one another as well as of foreigners, the 
native workmen found American timecard systems used for pay-off 
difficult to cope with. Identity badges were forged, timecards stolen 
or sold, and the paymaster's life generally made miserable. Counter- 
measures and new devices were employed to ensure, in so far as possible, 
honest and fair pay-offs. Theft, both petty and large scale, posed prob- 
lems of discipline and these were not always fairly solved — the Iranian 
police frequently releasing suspects arrested on American complaint, 
and the Americans, on their part, sometimes carrying search of native 
quarters to lengths of severity not countenanced in the States. 8 

Production figures, however, testify to the establishment of generally 
smooth relations with an efficient labor force. 9 The brightest aspect of 
the labor picture was the adaptability of the native workmen to Ameri- 
can assembly-line industrial techniques, and here, as time went on, 
the patience of Americans as teachers was rewarded by the eager 
willingness of the learners. Greater progress in this respect was made 
after the Army took over and could mingle large numbers of American 
soldier-instructors through the lines. The TAP's distinguished them- 
selves by their ability to take mutually distrustful racial groups, 
ignorant, slow-moving, underfed laborers, camel drivers, and desert 
nomads, and make of many of them skilled factory hands and even 
supervisors. It may be that American machines do not, after all, require 
supermen to operate them, and that sociologists and statesmen have 

' (1) Hist Rpt, TAP II, for Sep 43. PGF 23-1. (2) Hist Rpt, TAP II, for Sep 44. 
PGF 23-U. (3) Report of Military Police Activities, PGC, United States Army, Pt. II, 
sec. Ill, and Pt. Ill, sec. II. PGF 130. 

* HOTI, Pt. I, Ch. 7, History of Civilian Personnel Branch Activities, Administration 
Division, Hq, PGC, by Col Richard W. Cooper, p. 1 9. PGF. 


something startling to learn from the speed with which Khorramshahr 
scaled, if not the heights, at least the foothills of Detroit. 10 

When the Army took over truck assembly, Plants Branch assumed 
responsibility for the checkup station at Tehran, operated by an ord- 
nance medium automotive maintenance company detachment and 
some two hundred and twenty native workmen, as well as a small 
checkup station established, at Russian suggestion, at Khurramabad on 
the highway north of Andimeshk. The Khurramabad station, manned 
by a handful of American soldiers, was from time to time the object of 
Soviet criticism. A demand that the Americans change the oil of Soviet 
vehicles there was refused after a thorough test of the condition of oil 
in vehicles after arrival at Tehran, which showed an oil change en route 
unnecessary. The Soviets moved in some Red Army men, but further 
complaints were registered against the condition of vehicles serviced 
there. After an inspection trip by Soviet and American officers these 
complaints were admitted to be groundless. Next, in June 1944, the 
Soviets requested expansion of the station, but after thorough study 
of the proposal by the Americans it was refused. Meanwhile, the Rus- 
sians assigned 6 officers and 40 men to Khurramabad and began to 
service their own vehicles. In September 1944, 10 American soldiers 
were removed, leaving 4 until January 1945 when the Soviets took over 
full control of the station. 

At the big Tehran checkup station rigid inspection, lubrication, 
tightening, and maintenance were the final operations of the Americans 
before handing over the vehicles to the Soviets. In spite of the very large 
numbers of vehicles which passed through the routine, Russian com- 
plaints against the quality of the work were numerous and could be met 
only by willingness to correct defects. It was suggested, after a complaint 
of April 1944, that the Soviets set up an inspection system outside the 
American plant in order to eliminate the interference with American 
operations by Russian inspectors in the plant. In April 1945 the Rus- 
sians took over the Tehran checkup station. 

Among the most serious problems was that of damage to parts and 
vehicles. Often defective packing in the United States or rough unload- 
ing at the ports resulted in damage which showed up in poor perform- 
ance of assembled trucks. Not only did many crates arrive in damaged 

10 (1) The article by Nels Anderson, "Give Us More American Education," Survey 
Graphic, January 1946, pages 13ff., tallies with the detailed labor records kept by the Army, 
as well as with the testimony of civilian foremen and service troops who worked with native 
workers in the truck assembly plants, (2) General Scott, Chief of Staff, PGG, in an address 
at Khorramshahr on 26 January 1944, marking the end of the first year's operations at 
TAP II, thanked "the officers and men of the PGC, the Russian troops, and the Iranian 
workmen" equally for their contribution to the war in their truck assembly work. PGF 244. 


condition, but boxes would slide off trucks into the highway to be 
descended upon by eager natives who, before the military police could 
arrive, would carry off parts, tear away the crating lumber, and expose 
equipment to sun and dust. 

Beginning in June 1943 a rising tide of complaints from the Soviets 
called attention to persistent breakdown of Studebakers, Fords, and 
Chevrolets assembled at Andimeshk and Khorramshahr, breakdowns 
not attributable to the rough overland journey northward after as- 
sembly or to the sometimes reckless operation by native drivers. From 
G-2 at USAFIME headquarters, Cairo, went a report of the situation 
with a request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct a 
study of factories in the United States to determine whether sabotage 
was taking place there or in Iran. Investigation which followed at the 
Studebaker Hercules plant at Canton, Ohio, and at the assembly point 
at South Bend, Indiana, revealed some defective materials going into 
pistons, but no sabotage, and a report in May 1944 tossed the ball 
back to the Persian Gulf with the suggestion that if there was sabotage 
it must be occurring in Iran. The upshot of all this was that the Army 
tightened up processing of waybills and improved handling methods 
from the docks to keep damage of cased vehicles to a minimum. All 
material was recorded as to condition at arrival, and widespread 
breakdowns of delivered vehicles declined. 11 

The End of Operations 

By November 1944 the American plants at Andimeshk and Khor- 
ramshahr were the only TAP's left operating. As the Eastern Front 
had receded westward farther and farther from the Persian Gulf line 
of communication, and as the Mediterranean was again open for Allied 
shipping, plans went forward in high places to develop a supply route 
to the USSR through the Black Sea. On 28 November it was recom- 
mended by the Munitions Assignments Board at Washington that either 
TAP I or TAP II be turned over to the USSR to be re-established for 
use in assembling trucks to be shipped to Russia via the Black Sea 
route. 12 Meanwhile, on 19 November the War Department had in- 
structed the Persian Gulf Command that plant operations were to be 
adjusted to permit the prompt dismantling of TAP I for shipment to 
the USSR, and orders to dismantle the Andimeshk plant came through 
on 7 December on the heels of the authorization by the Munitions 
Assignments Committee (Ground) on 30 November to transfer one 

" See under 9 Jun and 18 Nov 43, and 22 May 44. MID 451.2 (22 May 44) (25 Jun 43). 
11 Memo, 28 Nov 44. AG 400.3295, Hq Amet. 


plant to the Soviets. A formal communication was sent to Col. Leonid 
I. Zorin, Deputy Chief of Iransovtrans, and on 10 December a Russian 
Acceptance Committee arrived at Andimeshk. The entire plant, stack- 
ing yard, and salvage area were divided into smaller sections with a 
Russian officer, an American officer, and an interpreter assigned to 
each group. While this was going on native workmen were discharged 
in daily batches. December output of 550 vehicles brought to 79,370 
Andimeshk's assembly for all consignees. By 17 January 1945 the entire 
TAP had been dismantled and shipped by rail to the Soviet Union. 
It was a considerable consignment, carried in 115 freight cars, two of 
them special low-bed cars for hauling the bulky cranes in the equip- 
ment through the narrow tunnels of the railway. The men of the 
3467th Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Company, who 
had been at Andimeshk since June 1943, completed cleanup of records 
and were relieved on 4 February 1945. After that Khorramshahr 
carried on alone. 

It is a curious thing how trucks kept pouring toward the Persian 
Gulf even at this late date, with the Russian front nearly two thousand 
miles from Tehran. But the long pipeline from the United States kept 
filling in the west and discharging in the Persian Gulf, and upon 
TAP II fell the task of keeping things moving as before. Personnel 
came down from Andimeshk, two shifts were worked, and in January 
the TAP produced 5,582 trucks. 

Matters were drawing to an end, however, for in February the 
two main assembly lines at TAP II were authorized for transfer to 
the USSR and actually stopped work in mid-March, leaving only the 
Mack line to carry on until 20 April, when it, too, was dismantled. 
By 24 April the entire plant had been dismantled and moved toward 
Russia in 146 rail cars plus another 114 cars carrying cased vehicles 
and salvage. Two ordnance units remained behind amidst what must 
have seemed to them, after former activity, the desolation of the desert. 
There were also three large cranes awaiting low-bed cars to get them 
through the tunnels on their journey north. When the 3556th and 
3455th Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance Companies were 
relieved before 1 May the American truck assembly mission in the 
Persian Corridor was completed. 

From March 1942 through April 1945 the four TAP's in Iraq 
and Iran assembled 191,075 units for all consignees. Of this total the 
two American plants turned out 88 percent, or 168,021 units. 13 During 
the fifteen months of the contractor period, Andimeshk and Khorram- 
shahr produced 29,751 units, 98 percent of which were for the USSR. 

" Exclusive of the 599 vehicles noted Tablls 111 n. c. 


The Army, in its twenty-two months of operation assembled 137,671 
units. Of these 96 percent went to the Russians, reflecting the increased 
amount of work done in the later period for consignees other than the 
Russians, notably the U. S. Army. In comparing the performances of 
the two periods it must be borne in mind that, by the time the Army 
took over, the assembly buildings except for Khorramshahr were 
virtually complete. Adequate machinery and equipment had been 
installed. Military manpower was sufficient and could be shifted to 
meet sudden demands, as the labor force of the contractor could not. 
Moreover, the heaviest flow of vehicles coincided roughly with the 
development of capacity. 

In this respect the truck assembly program was fortunate. Unlike 
the aircraft assembly operation, it did not have to struggle for most 
of its existence to meet targets while sometimes hopelessly handicapped 
by shortages of manpower, materials, and equipment. Then, too, in 
contrast with the experience at the ports, truck assembly did not 
develop capacity significantly in excess of the load it was actually 
called upon to bear. The variables and uncertainties which beset so 
many other activities of the American command afflicted the TAP's 
to a lesser degree. Whether by design or by fortuitous circumstance, 
production proceeded, except for the early 1942 period, as the statis- 
tical tables show, according to a reasonable rising and falling curve. 
When demand accelerated, capacity was ready; when the progress of 
the war removed the demand, no time was lost in closing out the 
project. How the King of Hearts would have applauded the TAP's 
for following his advice to Alice : "Begin at the beginning, and go on 
till you come to the end : then stop." 


Oil for the War 

No matter how well fed, equipped, or officered, without oil and 
gasoline the modern army is a helpless monster, mired and marked for 
destruction. It has been calculated that between 40 and 50 percent of 
the total supply tonnage of a combat division's daily consumption is 
petroleum. 1 Because of variables in the equation, there are no accurate 
criteria for estimating the ratio of oil used in the noncombat activities 
of an army to the total tonnages required to carry on such activities. 
Oil, the lifeblood of mechanized warfare, must flow by the oceanful. 

To meet their world-wide requirements for petroleum products, 
the British and Americans virtually pooled their oil resources. The 
Soviet Union, possessor of large supplies within its own borders, char- 
acteristically remained aloof from the joint arrangements of the western 
Allies, refusing even to exchange information on oil. 2 Russia was not, 
however, entirely self-sufficient, for during the period of lend-lease the 
United States shipped to it 2,1 13,449 long tons of petroleum products. 3 
Because the Persian Corridor runs through one of the world's principal 
oil-producing areas, only certain types of lubricants of American origin 
passed through it to the USSR. The great bulk of American lend-lease 
petroleum went by other routes. The responsibilities of the American 
command in the Persian Corridor for petroleum shipments to Russia 
were therefore relatively minor, both as compared with total American 
petroleum shipments to Russia and as compared with the total of other 
cargo tonnages delivered via the Corridor. 

The varied responsibilities and activities of the several national 
army forces within the Persian Corridor and in Iraq, not to mention the 
civilian economies, called for large quantities of oil. As the American 

s (l) Hist Rpt, Office of Petroleum Adviser, Opns Div, Hq, PGC, Mar 43-JuI 45. 
PGF 8-E. (2) Rear Adm. Andrew F. Carter, one-time executive of the Army-Navy Petro- 
leum Board, told an audience at the National War College on 6 February 1947 that the 
British calculated petroleum as 69.9 percent of total movement; the Americans, as 50 percent. 

'Herbert Feis, Seen from E. A. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1947), p. 136. 

'To this figure should be added 621,826 short tons (555,202 long tons) shipped from 
the United States to the United Kingdom to replace petroleum shipped from the Abadan 
refinery Jo the USSR, charged as British reciprocal aid to the United States. [Tablesll, 
n. g, andpjn. g. 


command increased its responsibilities in the field of inland transport, 
it extended its participation in the movement of oil through the area, 
and in addition to serving its own housekeeping needs, assisted in sup- 
plying the other army forces as well as the civilian economies. But that 
was not the limit of American responsibility for POL. 4 From the period 
of early planning in 1941 for extensive pipeline construction, the com- 
plex business of distribution of oil for the war was a part of the general 
logistical problem the United States, by its presence in the Persian 
Corridor, undertook to help solve. The problem also included efforts, 
shared by the Americans, to increase Middle East refinery capacity, 
and American operation of plants for the manufacture of oil drums and 
jerrycans. 6 

Early Pipeline Projects 

The usefulness of pipelines in reducing the burden of transporting 
oil by ship, rail, and truck early suggested an ambitious program of 
pipeline construction in Iran and Iraq. In broad outline, the program, 
which first involved construction of the lines for the British by the 
American engineer contractor using lend-lease materials, later pro- 
vided for construction by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company using British 
labor and lend-lease materials. In due course, after the Americans had 
made known their position that their assistance would be limited to 
pipelines required by military necessity, and that they would insist on 
a voice in postwar disposition of installations using lend-lease materials, 
the program was radically scaled down. 

According to a memorandum prepared by the British Purchasing 
Commission in September 1941, the pipeline project had been dis- 
cussed and its "need . . . carefully considered and agreed by the Joint 
Anglo-American Mission to Russia," the Harriman-Beaverbrook mis- 
sion, whose labors resulted in the First (Moscow) Protocol. 6 The 
British pressed the matter and on 25 October Brigadier W. E. R. Blood, 
of their Staff Mission in Washington, presented to General Wheeler, 
newly appointed chief of the U.S. Military Iranian Mission, a memo- 
randum which stated that the project's objective was to end the traffic 
bottleneck in the Bandar Shahpur-Andimeshk area. The paper pro- 
posed constructing a pipeline to parallel the existing AIOC line from 

* A British term adopted by the Americans for its brevity. It stands, loosely, for petrol 
(gasoline, benzine, kerosene), oil (raw oil, fuel oils, and all petroleum derivatives except 
petrol and lubricants), and lubricants (grease). POL means petroleum and any or all of its 

5 A rectangular can of four to five gallons' capacity and varying design, especially as to 
cap, lip, or spout, indispensable, because of its portability, for refueling in areas unsuitable 
for mobile tankers. A German innovation in World War I, hence, jerrycan, generic term 
for all variants, British or American. 

"Memo, prepared by British Purchasing Commission, 25 Sep 41. Iran 28/17, NADEF. 


Abadan to Ahwaz, two lines from Ahwaz to Andimeshk, and lines from 
there to Dorud or Azna and to Hamadan. Estimated capacity of the 
completed installations would be 2,000 long tons per day. 7 This plan 
would facilitate the movement of crude petroleum from the chief oil 
fields in the neighborhood of Ahwaz to the refinery at Abadan and 
would also provide for the transportation of refined petroleum products 
well north of Andimeshk to Dorud or Azna on the railway to Tehran, 
or even farther north and west to Hamadan in the direction from which 
any Axis incursion through the Caucasus would come. 

By the end of November, General Wheeler had left the United 
States and set up his headquarters at Baghdad, leaving behind at the 
home office of the Iranian Mission in Washington Captain Yount to 
handle the pipeline matter as part of the engineer program being pre- 
pared in consultation with Folspen, engineer constructor. It is possible 
that Wheeler's feeling that he could not include pipelines among the 
American projects discussed with Wavell at New Delhi that month 
arose from his knowledge that pipelines were being handled at Wash- 
ington. The laying of 600 miles of pipe in Iran, using American ma- 
terials, was one of the projects included in the Washington task list of 
24 November, although pipeline was absent from Wheeler's list of 
projects issued at the same time. During that month, the British Min- 
istry of Supply pressed the Lend-Lease Administration so strongly to 
hurry the procurement and shipment of pipeline material that it was 
arranged that the Office of the Chief of Engineers, War Department, 
would report frequently on the status of pipeline procurement to Gen- 
eral George Spalding of the erstwhile Division of Defense Aid Reports, 
Office for Emergency Management, who would pass on the reports to 
the Lend-Lease Administrator, Mr. Stettinius, who would in turn 
reassure the British. 8 The early plans contemplated connecting the pro- 
posed pipeline system with six container plants in order that manu- 
factured drums and jerrycans could be filled at the plants themselves. 
Specific pipeline routes were placed under study and the engineer con- 
structor alerted to undertake the construction of the lines and twelve 
pumping stations, using "materials furnished through Lend-Lease on a 
British requisition." The first requisition for 600 miles of 6-inch pipe 
(later increased to 760 miles) was nearly all shipped from the United 
States by January 1942 and it was expected that by May all necessary 
pipe and couplings would reach Iran. 9 

'Memo, Brig W. E. R. Blood for Gen Wheeler, 25 Oct 41. Iran 5/13, NADEF. 
8 Documents dated 28 Oct and 24 Nov 41. 679 Pipe Line, Oil, Iran, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 
'Memo for Gen Aurand, 23 May 42, sub: Pipelines in Iran and Iraq. 679 Pipe Line, 
Oil, Iran, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 



On the date of Captain Yount's report on construction needs, 
which was prepared at Washington, General Wheeler informed Gen- 
eral Moore, Deputy Chief of Staff for Supply, War Department, that 
negotiations were under way in the field for the pipeline construction 
to be done by the AIOC. "Unless otherwise directed," said the mes- 
sage, "contractor need not be prepared for this work." 10 

Although this was an indication of the direction in which matters 
were moving, it was not final, and planning continued in the United 
States. Like everything else, planning for pipeline construction in- 
volved a great deal of detail, and, like everything else, much of this 
detail required solution in high places rather than in the field. For 
instance, a difference over joints had developed in the field between 
Colonel Gillies, commanding the Basra subheadquarters office of the 
Iranian Mission, and the local British representative. The British 
wanted welded joints; Colonel Gillies recommended dresser joints. 
The matter was referred to Washington where Brigadier Blood and a 
representative of the Office of the Chief of Engineers decided that, 
although it was general practice for the Americans in constructing a 
pipeline system for the British to follow British wishes, dresser joints 
would be used, subject to the approval of the Commander-in-Chief, 
India. 11 

On 24 December 1941 a preliminary report on the Iranian pipe- 
line project was submitted to the recently appointed District Engineer 
for the Iranian Engineer District, Colonel Lieber. 12 The report dealt 
with the following six proposed pipeline routes together with neces- 
sary pumping stations and communications: 

(1) Ahwaz-Dizful-Hamadan 320 miles 

(2) Ahwaz-Dizful 

(3) Abadan-Basra 

(4) Baghdad-Khanaqin 

(5) Kirkuk-Mosul 



110 miles 

100 miles 

refined prod- 

fuel oil 

refined prod- 
ucts and fuel 

refined prod- 
ucts and fuel 

refined prod- 

"Rad, Wheeler to Moore, 24 Nov 41. DE File D-2, Directives, NADEF. 

" Memo for file, by Maj T. T. Molnar, Supply Sec, Defense Aid Unit, OCofEngrs, 
4 Dec 41, concerning meeting held 2 Dec 41. 381 (Middle East) O&T Sec Files, Folio 1, 
Serials 1-175, OCofEngrs. ^ T 

13 A Preliminary Report on Iranian Pipeline Project, 24 Dec 41. Iran 45/1, NADEF. 


(6) Kirkuk-Baiji 66 miles refined prod- 

ucts and fuel 



This very considerable network, when added to existing oil lines in 
the area, would provide the British oil fields in Iraq and Iran with 
alternative connections with Mediterranean outlets, and would also 
establish an integrated oil transport system extending from the Persian 
Gulf far into the northern interior. In a memorandum prepared in 
January in the home office of the Iranian Mission in Washington, 
supposed Axis strategy against the oil fields, the Suez Canal, and the 
Persian Corridor supply line was examined with relation to possible 
routes of enemy attack upon these regions. The pipeline program was 
presented as directly meeting or preparing "for an enemy drive south- 
ward and from between the Caspian and Black Seas." Nevertheless, 
it was observed that without detailed study of transportation conditions 
in the field it was impossible to estimate the amount of relief the pro- 
posed pipelines would afford existing highway and rail transport. 13 

By early January the negotiations referred to by General Wheeler 
in November resulted in the War Department's proposing to furnish 
materials, which were then actually en route to Iran, while the AIOC 
would construct the lines with British labor. The proposed routes were 
reduced to five, namely numbers 1, 2, 3, and 6 as listed above, and 
either 4 or 5. 14 

At this time a meeting was held in the Division of Near Eastern 
Affairs, Department of State, to consider the postwar implications of 
the pipeline project and to determine what agreement the State 
Department should endeavor to reach with the British Foreign Office 
regarding ownership and use of the proposed pipelines in the postwar 
period. Prior to the meeting the Department of State had informed 
the War Department that, although it did not wish to delay matters 
or to cast doubt upon the War Department's judgment of the military 
value of the projects, the State Department was concerned with pro- 
tecting American oil interests "in the future developments in this area 
and preventing a repetition of the events of the period immediately 
subsequent to the first World War." 1S 

a Memo, signed by Maj H. Case Willcox, 7 Jan 42. 679 Pipe Line, Oil, Iran, Intn Div, 

" Memo of conversation, State Dept, 12 Jan 42, sub: Postwar Economic Implications of 
Plans of the WD to Furnish Wheeler Mission with Lend-Lease Materials for Cons of Mil 
Pipelines in Iran and Iraq. 679 Pipe Line, Oil, Iran, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 

"Memo, Capt Yount for Gen Moore, 13 Jan 42. 679 Pipe Line, Oil, Iran, Intn Div, 
ASF NCF. The account of the meeting, except as otherwise noted, is based upon this memo- 
randum and that cited note 14. Present at the meeting were Wallace Murray, Chief of the 
Division of Near Eastern Affairs, Paul Ailing, his Assistant Chief, Max Thornburg, and 


At the meeting Wallace Murray, Chief of the Division of Near 
Eastern Affairs of the Department of State, and later Ambassador to 
Iran, presented an account of the exclusion of American interests from 
the development of the Iraqi oil fields following failure of the United 
States to ratify the Treaty of Versailles. He told how the Colby-Curzon 
correspondence of 1920-28 led to the British Government's allowing 
American interests a 23.75-percent share in the Iraq Petroleum Com- 
pany in 1928, and he sketched the history of the D'Arcy concession of 
1901 granted to the AIOC and renewed with some limitation in 1933. 
In view of the predictions of experts that American domestic oil supplies 
were not inexhaustible, the State Department, taking a long-range 
view of American requirements, wished to ensure that American 
interests in Iran would not be put at a disadvantage by the proposed 
pipeline construction in Iraq, where American participation in the oil 
company was a minority one, and in Iran, where the AIOC enjoyed, 
save for the five northern provinces, exclusive rights to exploit oil 
resources. It was thought that an arrangement protecting the interests 
of all concerned, American as well as British and Iranian, might 
"relieve Iran from possible British postwar pressure to make the lines 
available exclusively to the AIOC." ia The lack of lend-lease agree- 
ments with Iraq and Iran at the time of the meeting complicated the 
postwar disposition of any pipelines which might be built on their 
territory with American materials. 

Consideration was therefore directed to whether the proposed 
routes were for strictly strategic use or based primarily upon future 
commercial requirements; to the effect of the lines upon postwar dis- 
tribution of refined products and upon development of new oil fields ; 
to the question whether their construction would operate to bar Ameri- 
can participation in future oil developments in this area ; and finally 
to the question of how to agree to safeguard American interests without 
jeopardizing military necessity. 

It was concluded that the State Department would explore the 
matter with the Foreign Office ; that ownership would remain in abey- 
ance during the war ; that after the war it was desirable that ownership 
and disposition of the lines be settled by agreement among the United 
States, Iran, and the United Kingdom; that pipelines be regarded 

Mr. Parker, for the State Department, and General Moore, Maj. A. N. Wood, Captain Yount 
(the latter two from the Home Office of the Iranian Mission), Philip Young of the Lend- 
Lease Administration, Fred H. Kay, Vice President, Standard-Vacuum Oil Company, R. C. 
Stoner, Vice President, Standard Oil Company of California, F. A. Davies, President, 
California-Arabian Oil Company (later Arabian-American Oil Company, i. e., Aramco), and 
C. E. Olmstead, Vice President, Texas Company. 
18 Memo cited n. 9. 


as in the same category as other material assistance from the United 
States carried out under the terms of lend-lease, such as port develop- 
ment, railway rolling stock, and highway improvement; and, finally, 
that no delay in the project be interposed by the United States. 

General Moore advised that the British be notified that they could 
not dispose of lend-lease projects without American permission, and 
that General Wheeler be formally directed to examine all lend-lease 
proposals "from the standpoint of military necessity." There is no 
record that such instructions were formally delivered to Wheeler, 
but Captain Yount, who proceeded to Baghdad shortly after the meet- 
ing, informed Wheeler fully as to its deliberations and conclusions. 17 

The protection of American postwar interest in the proposed lines, 
the question involved in General Moore's first suggestion, was promptly 
undertaken by the State Department and record of their action trans- 
mitted on 30 January to the home office of the Iranian Mission "with 
reference to the meeting concerning a proposal to construct pipelines 
in Iran." The method followed by the State Department was to instruct 
U.S. ambassadors at London, Kuybyshev, and Tehran to protest 
against the provisions of Article IV of the draft treaty then being 
negotiated by Britain, the USSR, and Iran to formalize the situation 
resulting from the invasion and occupation of Iran by British and 
Soviet forces in the preceding year as a counterstroke against Nazi 
forces working for the control of Iran. Article IV read: 

A special agreement shall be concluded between the Allied governments [the 
United Kingdom and USSR] and the Imperial Iranian Government defining the 
conditions of any transfers to the Imperial Iranian Government after the war of 
buildings and other improvements effected by the Allied Powers on Iranian ter- 
ritory. These agreements shall also settle the immunities to be enjoyed by the 
Allied forces in Iran. 

The instructions forwarded to the American ambassadors cited this 
article as appearing "to envisage subsequent negotiations restricted to 
Great Britain, Soviet Russia, and Iran, involving the disposition of 
property which would apparently include American lend-lease ma- 
terial and affecting the long-range interests of the United States in 
Iran." The ambassadors were instructed therefore to request assurance 
from the United Kingdom and the USSR that no such negotiations as 
were referred to by Article IV should be undertaken "before this Gov- 
ernment has been consulted and has given its consent to any provisions 
at present affecting, or which may in the future affect American prop- 
erty, rights or interests in Iran." 18 

" Memo, Gen Yount for author, 24 Dec 48. 

18 Document and inch dated 26 Jan 42. 679 Pipe Line, Oil, Iran, Intn Div, ASF NCF. 


The upshot was that the only construction under the original pro- 
gram was the short line from Abadan to Basra listed as route 3 above. 
Pipe was supplied under lend-lease for construction by the British. The 
installation was estimated to carry 192,000 gallons a day. Although 
Folspen was relieved of responsibility for construction, as foreshadowed 
in November by General Wheeler, the American engineer constructor 
was nevertheless requested by the British to provide some welding 
equipment and welding supervisors and some technical supervision. 
Thus the early plans for an elaborate Iran-Iraq pipeline network of 
more than 700 miles were modified down to 35 miles. The episode fur- 
nishes an instructive military footnote to the larger story of Middle 
East oil which lies beyond the limits of the present history. 18 

Increase of Middle East Refinery Capacity — Bahrein 

Although oil existed in plenty in Iraq and Iran, and there were 
Allied-controlled refineries at Haifa, Bahrein, and Abadan, the exigen- 
cies of the war situation in the Middle East in 1941 and 1942 tended to 
limit the use to which these vital Allied war assets could be put in 
behalf of the war effort. As Dr. Herbert Feis has written, "The dangers 
of German destruction or conquest of Middle Eastern oil fields and re- 
fineries, the virtual closing of the Mediterranean to tanker transport, 
and the length of the sea haul from the Persian Gulf to western Europe 
combined to confine the usefulness of Middle Eastern oil mainly to 
nearby military operations and safely accessible points until 1943-4." 
American interest in increasing Middle East refinery capacity was ex- 
pressed late in 1941 by the U.S. Army Air Forces. In November ar- 
rangements were made by the appropriate governmental agencies to 
expedite shipment of needed machinery and equipment to Abadan for 
increase of its output. Early in the new year, 1942, the Office of the 
Petroleum Co-ordinator (which in December 1942 became the Pe- 
troleum Administration for War) asked the Bahrein Petroleum Com- 
pany (BAPCO) to submit proposals for the addition to their refinery 
of 100-octane gasoline facilities. At the same time the co-ordinator, 
Harold Ickes, proposed a general program to increase Middle East 

" (l)Interv with Ambassador Murray, Tehran, 30 Jul 45. (2) Memo cited n. 9, quoting 
Rad, Col Shingler to Washington, 16 May 42: "All pipeline projects in Iran-Iraq have been 
canceled" with the exception of sections of routes 1 and 2 given in the list in the text. These 
sections would run only from Ahwaz to Andimeshk and were designed for 70,000 gallons and 
150,000 gallons per day, respectively. According to Ambassador Murray even this reduction 
of the original program was abandoned. (3) Memo cited n. 9. Ltr, Edmund A. Prentis, 
Folspen, to Missions Br, Intn Div, SOS, Washington, 18 Jun 42, indicates that Folspen was 
then working on plans for anchorages for a 6-inch dresser-coupled oil line. 679 Pipe Line, 
Oil, Iran, Intn Div, ASF NCF. (4) Rpt on Trans-Iranian Railway, by Capt Yount, 5 Jan 42. 
WPD 4596 to -15 Iran (Persia) HRS DRB AGO. 


refinery capacity which was deferred on the advice of military officials 
pending clarification of the war situation in that area. Further ship- 
ments to Abadan of machinery and equipment were expedited in May 
and July 1942 and in May and June certificates of priority for materials 
for the general expansion of the refinery at Haifa were issued. In 1943 
agreement was reached to undertake the Bahrein plant expansion. In 
the same year the construction of the Arabian American Company's 
refinery at Ras Tannura, Saudi Arabia, was begun. By the end of the 
war all this activity had provided an increase of 43 percent in total 
Middle East refinery capacity, that at Abadan amounting to more than 
100 percent. 20 

In the case of the refineries at Abadan and Haifa, American aid 
was limited to expediting allocation and shipment of machinery and 
equipment. The Bahrein and Ras Tannura construction was facilitated 
on the urgent recommendation of the Army-Navy Petroleum Board — 
established in 1942, later (1943) an agency of the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff — in order that its output might serve American military and 
naval needs in the Pacific war. Only in the case of Bahrein were United 
States Government funds employed or did the War Department, 
through its commanding generals at Cairo and Tehran, assume even 
indirect responsibility. 

This responsibility for operations at the Bahrein refinery was in- 
direct because there was no contractual relationship regarding the 
refinery between the War Department and BAPCO. 21 It would be more 
accurate, therefore, to say that, instead of responsibility, the War De- 
partment exercised a paramount interest in the progress of the high- 

10 (1) Feis, Seen from E. A., p. 100 and n. 4, p. 171. See also Thirteenth Report to 
Congress on Lend-Lease Operations for the Period Ended November 30, 1943 (Washington: 
Government Printing Office, 1944), Ch. 7, "Lend-Lease Petroleum in the War," pp. 39-45. 
(2) Interv with Admiral Carter, National War College, 6 Feb 47. (3) Interv with Dr. John 
W. Frey, Historian, Petroleum Administration for War, Interior Dept, 13 Jan 47. (4) Pre- 
liminary Report of Observations on Bahrein Island, 27 Jun 44, by Maj Gus R. Bartels, 
Deputy Provost Marshal, PGC, to CG, PGC (cited hereafter as Bartels Rpt). Seen by the 
author at office of Bahrein Petroleum Company, Awali, Bahrein Island, Jul 45. (5) A History 
of the Petroleum Administration for War, 1941-1945, prepared under the direction and 
editorship of John W. Frey and H. Chandler Ide (Washington: Government Printing Office, 
1946), p. 265. (6) Interv cited n. 20(3). 

21 (1) But see Container Plants at Abadan and Bahrein, below. (2) See also under date 
of 29 Mar 44. AG 095 Bahrein Oil Co, Hq AMET. (3) The only other direct connection 
occurred over the sale to the company of surplus heavy construction equipment. On 2 Sep- 
tember 1943 the company requested USAFIME to sell it such equipment in accordance with 
Army policy designed to save shipping. After discussion between USAFIME headquarters 
and the War Department it was decided on 29 April 1944 to supply BAPCO from the Persian 
Gulf. History of ACofS, G-4, AMET, par. 16. Hq AMET. The material was transferred, 
the transaction being legalized on 31 July 1944 by a contract signed between the Persian 
Gulf Command and BAPCO for the sale (with right to repurchase) of $120,927.39 worth 
of machinery, equipment, and supplies under existing law, authority, and declarations, which 
indicated that the national defense and the war effort would be promoted by speeding con- 
struction of aviation gasoline facilities. See Contract W-7358-PGC-1. AG File, Hq PGC. 


octane aviation gasoline expansion program and that this interest found 
expression in assumption of jurisdiction over American employees of 
the companies on Bahrein Island. To understand the resulting situation, 
never clearly defined, it will be necessary to review certain aspects of 
the refinery project although construction and operation of the refinery 
were the direct responsibility of BAPCO and outside the jurisdiction of 
War Department agencies. 

The oil concession held by BAPCO, a Canadian subsidiary of 
Standard Oil Company of California, was first granted by the Sheik 
of Bahrein, through the good offices of the Department of State, to 
another American company. After BAPCO took over, it started work 
on the island in 1931, bringing in the first oil strike the next year. The 
first crude was shipped out in 1934. A refinery, built in 1936, was 
enlarged in 1937 and 1940. The high-octane plant additions begun in 
1943 were undertaken under a contract with the Defense Supplies 
Corporation, a subsidiary of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 
Defense Supplies Corporation putting up 75 percent of the cost in 
return for taking the entire high-octane output as agents for the U.S. 
Army and Navy. The first shipment of 100-octane gasoline from the 
new plant occurred in July 1945. New plant construction was carried 
on for BAPCO by a subcontractor, Compania Constructora Bechtel- 
McCone (BMC), a Venezuelan corporation. 22 

Three factors in the eventual exercise of interest by the War 
Department require notice: first, the political situation at Bahrein 
Island; second, certain proposals made during the contract negotia- 
tions; and third, early difficulties in operations which threatened the 
success of the undertaking and brought about the exercise of the War 
Department's interest. 

The Sheikdom of Bahrein is a British protectorate, British rights 
on the island having existed from about 1820. Pursuant to an agree- 
ment between the British Government and the Sheik Isa in 1909 and a 
Bahrein Order in Council of 1913, the British political agent on the 
island conducted on behalf of the Sheik all foreign relations and exer- 
cised on behalf of the Sheik exclusive jurisdiction over all non-Bahreini 
on the island. During the period under review (1943-45) the British 
political agent was endowed with sweeping power to deport any 
American or British subject, without reference to the Sheik, for 
"intrigue" or "conduct prejudicial to good order and disturbance of 

a (1) Feis, Seen from E. A., p. 103 and n. 7. (2) Interv with Ward Anderson, General 
Mgr, BAPCO, Awali, Bahrein Island, 11 Aug 45. (3) Interv cited n. 20(2). The Defense 
Supplies Corporation later modified the contract and had to pay damages for reducing the 
specified quantity. The New York Times, March 17, 1947. 


the peace," or for offenses, misdemeanors, or felonies. 23 Furthermore, 
although the BAPCO concession was granted by the Sheik, it was 
under the jurisdiction of the British Government which could control 
or pre-empt it. A challenge to British interest in Bahrein was offered 
in November 1927 when the government of Iran claimed sovereignty 
over the island; but this was met by notice served by the British of 
their intention to protect Bahrein against all other claimants. In 
1943-45 there was no United States consul or other American political 
representative on the island, a proposal by the State Department to 
send a consul having been protested by the British. 24 

Partly because of this political background, BAPCO, when asked 
by the Office of the Petroleum Co-ordinator in January 1942 to submit 
proposals for construction of 100-octane gasoline facilities, complied 
in March with the suggestions that the plant be owned by the United 
States Government; security be provided by military police (Ameri- 
can) ; the United States Government assist in recruiting, deferring 
from the draft, and transporting civilian employees; necessary priori- 
ties and shipping space be assured ; and in the event of enemy attack 
the United States Government evacuate the construction forces. 25 

Because of the reluctance of the Army to proceed with a general 
program of Middle East refinery expansion until the war situation had 
become clarified, the BAPCO reply was held for some time under 
advisement until in December the Army-Navy Petroleum Board, on 
behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, authorized the Petroleum Adminis- 
trator for War to inform BAPCO that the project at Bahrein was 
urgently desired. Accordingly, BAPCO submitted new proposals in 
January 1943 looking to completion of the plant by the middle of 1944. 
Long consideration of the contract with the Defense Supplies Corpora- 
tion ensued, and construction personnel did not reach the island in 
substantial numbers until early 1944. The target date was consequently 
advanced to March 1945, and, as has been stated, the first shipment of 
high-octane gasoline was not made until July 1945. 26 

It is important to note, for its effect upon future developments, that 
under the contract finally agreed upon the United States accepted only 
BAPCO's third and fourth proposals and that no responsibility was 
assumed by the United States for security of plant or for jurisdiction 
over civilian personnel. 

21 Bartels Rpt. 

M (l)See under date of 6 Jul 44. AG 250.401 Court Martial Jurisdiction, Hq PGC. 
(2) Bartels Rpt. (3) Interv cited n. 22(2). 

25 Bartels Rpt. 

M (1 ) Interv cited n. 20(2). (2) This "costly" delay is listed in the Bartels Report among 
eight factors in deterioration of contractor-personnel morale which aroused the War Depart- 
ment's interest. 


After the commencement of construction numerous difficulties 
arose which tended to delay the project and to foster poor morale 
among the civilian construction workers for BMC, the BAPCO sub- 
contractor. Among these difficulties was a marked underestimate of 
personnel needs, placing undue burdens upon an insufficient force at 
the beginning. There were also delays in delivery of men and materials, 
abnormally slow discharge of cargoes by the local British lighterage 
firm (Gray Mackenzie & Co., Ltd.) when they did arrive, shortage of 
materials, equipment, and motor transport, and shortage of native un- 
skilled labor because of the numbers required by the Royal Air Force 
in its construction of airport facilities on another part of the island for 
the Air Transport Command. There was also an average weekly wage 
differential of one hundred and fifty dollars to the disadvantage of 
the BMC employees at Bahrein as compared to wages paid by the 
M. W. Kellogg Company to Americans on its refinery project at 
Abadan." All of this contributed to an abnormally high labor turnover 
which was both costly and inefficient and which reflected an increasing 
spirit of unrest among the American employees at the refinery whose 
numbers rose from twenty-five in December 1943 to over 1,000 in 
1944-45 for both BAPCO and BMC. 28 

Unrest culminated on the night of 17-18 June 1944 in "the inci- 
dent at the gate," in which two Americans, attempting to enter the 
refinery without passes, resisted the local Bahreini police. 29 It was 
understood by the contractors that under local law and the conditions 
of their concession their employees properly came under local police 
jurisdiction. The incident at the gate merely dramatized and focused 
attention upon the refusal of a malicious element among the employees 
to recognize that jurisdiction. Apprised of the resultant impasse and the 
threat it implied to the success of the Bahrein aviation gasoline project, 
General Connolly promptly dispatched his deputy provost marshal to 
Bahrein to investigate. This action, justified by the general responsi- 
bility of Connolly for maintenance of War Department interests, rested 

" Bands Rpt. 

a The normal complement of the BAPCO refinery before commencement of the aviation 
gasoline program was about 150 Europeans and 1,500 natives. Between 19 May 1943, when 
the high-octane plant project was begun, and the close of business on 12 August 1945 (when 
figures were prepared), 91 percent of European employees processed had been terminated. 
That is, out of 1,104 men processed for the payroll and shipped to Bahrein Island, only 
401 remained. Resignations, discharges, and 30-day terminations accounted for 33.5 percent 
of the total employment roster, while 48 percent remained at the plant to the end of their 
contracts. Average turnover approximated one third of total enrollment. Personnel figures 
prepared and information furnished by Walter Hillman, Personnel Manager for BMC at 
the refinery; Mr. Hanson; and Julius Fifer, Manager of the BAPCO refinery. 

* Bartels Rpt. 


upon a presumption of specific jurisdiction rather than upon any clearly 
defined jurisdiction. 

The Army authorities possessed the right to apply the Articles of 
War to War Department civilian employees under their jurisdiction. 
At Bahrein, however, neither contractor nor employees operated under 
War Department contract. The question of Army jurisdiction over 
Bahrein's refinery had come up in November 1 943 when General Royce, 
then commanding general of USAFIME, cabled General Somervell 
that he had heard that responsibility for it was to be assigned to the 
Persian Gulf Service Command, then still a part of the USAFIME 
command. To General Royce's suggestion that jurisdiction be assigned 
USAFIME, Somervell replied that, although the jurisdiction was 
automatically USAFIME's under the command setup, it was desirable 
that "any army responsibility be relegated to CG PGSC as it is believed 
that his technical staff is especially qualified to handle this." 30 Under 
other circumstances the Judge Advocate General later, on 13 May 
1944, advised the Commanding General, USAFIME, not to court- 
martial American civilian employees of BAPCO while they remained 
within the limits of the Middle East theater as it was doubtful whether 
such procedure would be sustained if tested by habeas corpus or other 
civil proceeding. 31 The lack of clearly defined jurisdiction as between 
USAFIME and the American command in the Persian Gulf over the 
Bahrein project further complicated the problem of controlling the 
transfer of ex-employees of BAPCO and BMC to the payrolls of 
USAFIME civilian contractors, a factor in the high Bahrein labor 
turnover which General Connolly labored more than a year to eradicate 
by agreed controls and arrangements with Brig. Gen. Benjamin F. 
Giles, who became Commanding General, USAFIME, in March 
1944. 32 Some weeks previous to the incident at the gate, General Con- 
nolly had informed the American charge d'affaires at Tehran that the 

80 Rad AMSME 9141, Royce to Somervell, 6 Nov 43, and atchd papers. AG 095 Bahrein 
Oil Co., Hq AMET. 

21 JAG to CG, USAFIME, 13 May 44. AG 095 Bahrein Pet. Co., Hq AMET. 

!2 See Rad PX-14789, Connolly to Giles, 2 Jun 44. AG 095 Bahrein Pet. Co., Hq AMET. 
The radio warned that both USAFIME and its contractors were hiring ex-Bahrein employees, 
causing unrest and high turnover in "this high priority work." Connolly requested Giles to 
check with him to assure that job applicants have a release from PGC regardless of "what 
appears to be a bona fide release from our contractors." Both the phrase "our contractors" 
and the reference to release by the military indicate a de facto assumption of jurisdiction. 
Giles replied, agreeing to check and pointing out that an agreement to clear with the oil 
company and PGC had existed since the previous 17 February. Rad, Giles to Connolly, 
6 Jun 44. Same file. But a message from Royce to PGC, dated 23 February, after the 
agreement cited by Giles, promised to hire no more men without oil company clearance, thus 
suggesting that the agreement did not always govern. Rad, Royce to PGC, 23 Feb 44. 
Same file. 


Persian Gulf Command could not control the American civilians at 
Bahrein because they were not employees of the War Department or 
of a War Department contractor. 33 

Such was the situation when General Connolly met the fact of 
civilian resistance to local authority by the dispatch of his deputy 
provost marshal. This officer reported under date of 27 June 1944 
that the British political agent claimed exclusive jurisdiction over the 
American civilians but promised to appoint Americans as his agents 
in any trials resulting from lawbreaking. The American recommended 
the assignment to Bahrein of an American commanding officer to be 
responsible to the Director of Ports and Gulf District, PGC, and the 
assignment of twelve American military policemen and two Counter 
Intelligence Corps agents. 34 

General Connolly forthwith notified BAPCO on 5 July that neither 
the War Department nor the Department of State recognized local 
British jurisdiction over American civilians and that any deputizing 
should be done by the Sheik and not by the British political agent. 
When BAPCO replied that because of the local conditions already 
explained this was impossible, Connolly referred the matter to General 
Somervell with a request to the Department of State to handle the 
situation. A prompt reply advised Connolly to let the status quo stand, 
nor were matters clarified by a radio from Somervell on 16 July stating 
that the Provost Marshal General had ruled that the PGC was not 
responsible for jurisdiction over the American civilians, but that the 
Commanding General, PGC, might remove or exclude undesirables 
upon notification of the U.S. consul. As there was no U.S. consul at 
Bahrein, the consul forty miles across the water at Dhahran handled 
necessary consular duties. 35 

Thus matters stood through the rest of 1944 and 1945 while the 
aviation gasoline project was brought to completion, the bulk of 
American civilians withdrawn, and the PGC itself ultimately deacti- 
vated. With the arrival of ATC troops at the airfield at Muharraq, 
at the other end of Bahrein from the refinery at Awali, the presence of 
American military personnel with a direct administrative link to the 
PGC contributed to the security of the refinery without disturbing the 
established local jurisdiction of the British political agent. 

33 Ltr, Gen Connolly to Richard Ford, Charge d' Affaires, U.S. Embassy, Tehran, 25 Apr 
44. AG 201 Dreyfus, L. G., Jr., 1944, Hq PGC. 

" Bartels Rpt. 

"Communications of 5, 6, 8, 10, and 16 Jul 44. AG 250.401 Court-Martial Jurisdiction, 
Hq PGC. 


Container Plants at Abadan and Bahrein 

The rather minor responsibilities of the U.S. Army for establish- 
ment and operation of plants for the manufacture of jerrycans and oil 
drums in the area of the Persian Gulf fell within the framework of a 
program for the whole Middle East initiated at Cairo. Rommel's 
successful push into Egypt in May 1941 literally blew the extensive 
British stockpile of jerrycans sky-high. These indispensable containers 
are difficult to destroy; but when some three million of them are hit by 
shellfire and blast, it is scarcely practicable, under fire, to run about 
the desert and pick them up again. They are a total loss. For the next 
year the British attempted to resupply themselves. Increasing needs, 
not only of the British Army and Royal Air Force but of the American 
Air Forces, led to discussion at Cairo for reproducing drums and cans 
in requisite quantities. By September 1942 General Maxwell was plan- 
ning for factories at Haifa, Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta, Abadan, and 
Tehran. He requested General Marshall to send six complete plants 
by mid-October. On 24 October Maxwell asked General Somervell to 
give the plants top priority because of their urgent need. On 2 January 
1943 Maxwell asked Somervell for ten additional plants. 33 

The ultimate program was on a smaller scale. On 17 May a con- 
tract was approved between the Ordnance Department and the Over- 
seas Steel Container Corporation, a subsidiary of the U.S. Steel 
Corporation, for management, operation, and maintenance of plants 
for the production of steel drums, pails, and jerrycans in North Africa 
and the Middle East. By Anglo-American agreement in June 
USAFIME was responsible for five container plants as part of a co- 
ordinated group to receive quotas established by the War Office, 
London, and allocated "by the Deputy Director of Works, Middle East 
Forces, Cairo. In August it was settled that after installation by the 
Corps of Engineers operation of the plants would be by the Overseas 
Steel Container Corporation under ordnance supervision. 37 

Meanwhile arrangements were made for establishment within this 
general program of a container factory at Abadan. In an exchange of 
views on the subject in April 1943 between American headquarters at 
Cairo and Tehran, General Connolly stated that, although the pro- 

" (1) Ltr, Maxwell to Marshall, 21 Sep 42. Cited G-5 File 457, Hq AMET. (2) Rad 
AMSME 2095, Maxwell to Somervell, 24 Oct 42. AG 463.7 (13 Jim 42-30 Apr 43), Hq 
AMET. (3) Rad AMSME 3618, Maxwell to Somervell, 2 Tan 43. G-5 File 457, Hq AMET. 

3 ' ( 1 ) Contract, 1 7 May 43, was for estimated cost of $5,105,356, at a fixed fee of $299,400. 
160 Contract Overseas Steel Container Corporation, SL 8982. (2) Ltr, Gen Giles to GHQ, 
MEF, 24 Jun 43, citing Ltr, Gen Crawford to Lt Gen Sir Wilfred Lindsell, 5 Jun 43, and 
reply, 13 Jun 43. G-5 File, Can and Drum No. I, Hq AMET. (3) Ltr, Ord Off, USAFIME, 
to CG, SOS, USAFIME, 24 Aug 43. Same file. 


posal to set up a plant at Abadan was one for determination at Wash- 
ington, it was the view of both the American and British commands 
in his area that no need for such a plant existed. General Crawford, 
commanding Services of Supply, USAFIME, replied that the matter 
had been studied from a theater point of view and agreement with 
the British had been reached. 38 Plans, therefore, went ahead, the British 
constructing the necessary buildings at Abadan for three American 
plants — one for jerrycans, one for 36-imperial-gallon drums, and a 
third for U.S. 55-gallon drums. There was a temporary crisis in 
August, after the buildings were erected and the plants were arriving 
for installation, when there was a sudden decision to ship everything 
to Bahrein Island, but this was rescinded in a few days. 39 The Abadan 
factory was to be operated by the Overseas Steel Container Corpo- 
ration as long as required to train British personnel. It was agreed that 
in return for supplying the materials for cans and drums, the British 
would take the full output during 1943. No agreement as to costs or 
distribution of output was reached. It was assumed that the British, 
who required containers for their campaigns in Southeast Asia, would 
assign production where most needed. 

It is not clear from the record whether the plants at Abadan were 
ever American operated, although Americans, acting under the re- 
sponsibility of the Commanding General, PGSC, instructed the Indian 
Army labor battalion, which worked the plants, in their operation and 
lent a hand later on from time to time when their knowledge of the 
machinery was required to surmount difficulties or to get things started 
again after breakdowns. 

Since the output was to be wholly allocated to British uses, it was 
recommended early in September, before operations began, that the 
plants be turned over to the British. In October Washington relieved 
General Connolly of his responsibility for the container plants at Aba- 
dan, the Overseas Steel Container Corporation faded from the picture, 
and the British took over responsibility for operation, while title to 
the plants was held by the Commanding General, SOS, USAFIME. 
The Abadan plants appear to have begun operation late in 1943 and, 
except for the jerrycan plant, to have continued into 1945."° 

"Rad TN 3099, Gen Connolly to Gen Brereton, 5 Apr 43; and reply, Gen Crawford 
to Gen Connolly, 10 Apr 43. AG 600.12 Abadan, Hq AMET. 

" Penciled notation on copy of Rad AGWAR 2227, 27 Aug 43. AG 635 Drum Assembly 
Plant, Hq PGC. 

"(1) Memo, Ord Off, SOS, USAFIME, for CG, USAFIME, via G-4, 8 Sep 43. 
AG 635 Drum Assembly Plant, Hq PGC. (2) Rad AMPSC 1599, to Gen Connolly, 7 Oct 43. 
Same file. (3) Memo, Overseas Contracts Sec, Field Serv Div, OCofOrd, 9 Oct 43, 
Same file. (4) Ltr, CofS, PGC. to CG, ASF, 20 May 45. AG 635 Pertinent Correspondence- 
Drum Plants— Contl Br, Opns Div, Hq PGC. 


Meanwhile General Connolly, who still found no necessity for the 
plants and believed that neither the British nor the Americans would 
use any large production from them, accepted the decision of higher 
authority to proceed anyhow and in September 1943 suggested locating 
one or two 55-gallon drum plants at Bahrein Island. This would pro- 
vide, in case of loss or damage at the Abadan plant, an alternative 
plant seven or eight days nearer the CBI theater than those in the 
Mediterranean area. The recommendation was shortly followed by 
conclusion of a contract with BAPCO to establish and operate at their 
works two 55-gallon plants. 41 The War Department was to furnish the 
necessary manufacturing machinery, some of which was shipped to 
Bahrein from Mombasa, to reimburse the contractor for half the cost 
of the necessary buildings and to offer him the first opportunity to 
purchase the machinery at the termination of the contract. In turn the 
contractor was to manufacture drums at a fixed price per completed 
drum in quantities ordered by the government and to furnish all labor 
and materials not specified in the contract. Since the government con- 
trolled the rate of production, the contractor was to be paid a stated 
monthly sum for all fixed charges not affected by the rate of production. 
Administratively the Bahrein plant's connection with General Con- 
nolly's headquarters was through Plants Branch, Operations Division, 
which co-ordinated operations through the commanding officer of the 
Gulf District. The Plants Branch also acted as liaison agent with the 
Petroleum Adviser, Operations Division, and reported monthly the 
number of drums necessary to produce. It also maintained close con- 
tact with the Assistant Chief of Staff for Supply on matters pertaining 
to materials and equipment. As a statistics office, Plants Branch ob- 
tained weekly and monthly production reports and retained copies of 
receipts for plant equipment and materials used by the contractor. 

The Bahrein plants went into production on a two-line basis on 
1 August 1944 and almost immediately shut down because of lessened 
demand for 55-gallon drums and stood by for instructions from the 
Army-Navy Petroleum Board. By November, when authority was 
received from Washington to devote total output to British require- 
ments in Southeast Asia, operations were on a three-shift basis. Total 
production of drums to the year's end was 41,307 accepted units. 
Because of increased labor force, better contractor supervision, and the 

41 Rad AGWAR 2444, 20 Sep 43. AG 635 Drum Assembly Plant, Hq PGC. The contract, 
W-7366-Ord-l, was signed between 9 October and 21 November 1943, according to memo- 
randum cited note 40(3). There was also a contract, W-7366-QM-8260, with BAPCO. 


arrival of needed equipment, production for the month of February 
1 945 reached 4 1 ,69 1 , rising in April to 48,949. 42 

Meanwhile, in March certain complications arose as to continued 
operation of the plant. A general policy had been evolved in Washing- 
ton to sell all American drum plants in areas where the United States 
had no supply responsibility, and BAPCO had evinced an interest in 
buying the two drum plants, War Department owned, at their refinery. 
Responsibility for over-all policy regarding the plant now rested with 
the Commanding General, Army Service Forces, and the Army-Navy 
Petroleum Board, who advised Headquarters, PGC, that production 
was to continue as long as required to meet operational demands for 
containers. Although a stock pile of some 76,000 drums had accumu- 
lated at Bahrein and supplies on hand there were sufficient for six 
months' production at the monthly quota of 40,000 units demanded 
by the British, Abadan production, owing to shortages of steel and 
supplies there, had fallen off drastically and might fall farther. The 
Bahrein plant was thus useful in supplementing Abadan production; 
but in the opinion of Headquarters, PGC, it seemed, even in these 
circumstances, to be producing more than conditions warranted. 
Accordingly, authority was requested from the Army-Navy Petroleum 
Board to reduce production to a one-line, two-shift basis at a minimum 
target of 40,000 per month until the British could demonstrate their 
ability to move out the accumulated stock pile. Permission was granted, 
effective 1 May, and the authorities at PAI Force were so informed. 43 

Up to 1 May Bahrein's cumulative production amounted to 188,346 
accepted drums. During that month, however, with a return to the 
one-line, two-shift plan of operation, and because of breakdowns of 
machinery which, in spite of appeals to AIOC, Middle East Forces, 
Africa-Middle East Theater, and India, could not be replaced, the 
monthly total fell to 23,665 accepted units, but rose again sharply 
next month. 44 

The American decision to reduce production had been met with 
British demands for an increase. At first the Americans countered with 
the suggestion that, since the Bahrein and Abadan output was solely 
destined for British uses in Southeast Asia, the Abadan plants be moved 
to India and their production taken up by the plants at Bahrein and 

"Hist Ruts. Plants Br. O rms Div, Hq, PGC: (1) 4 Oct 44. PGF 125-U. (2) 15 Jan 45. 
PGF 125-X. (3; Table 14. 

43 (1) Hist Rpt, Plants Br, Opns Div, Hq, PGC, 2 May 45. PGF 125-B. (2) Extract, 
21 Mar 45, Rpts, Ex Off to CofS, PGC. PGF 251-A, 251-B. (3) Rad WARX 60174, 29 Mar 
45, referred to in Rpt cited in (1). See also Extracts, 23, 30 Mar 45, Rpts, Ex Off to CofS, 
PGC. PGF 251-A, 251-B. Responsibility for filling the drums rested with BAPCO and PAI 
Force, the War Department's interest being solely in maximum production. 

Trablel5. | 


those in the Africa-Middle East Theater. Before this went any further 
the progress of the Japanese war determined Washington that con- 
tinued operation of American-sponsored drum plants in the Persian 
Gulf Command was inconsistent with a policy of troop withdrawal and 
redeployment, and in June PGC was advised that the British Army 
Staff in Washington had been notified to that effect. 45 

In accordance with this decision the Director, Readjustment Divi- 
sion, Army Service Forces, declared surplus Abadan plants 166-A, 
187-A, and 127-B, along with the Bahrein plant, effective 1 August 
1945, and terminated the Bahrein contract as of 3 1 July. Plants Branch, 
Operations Division, PGC, prepared schedules of equipment for the 
Supply Division, Headquarters, PGC, to process prior to turning over 
to the Army-Navy Liquidation Commission for disposal. It was later 
discovered that, because of provisions in the Bahrein contract, that 
plant could not be declared surplus, and the Jersey City Quartermaster 
Depot was designated by the War Department to negotiate with 
BAPCO for sale. 43 

Supply of POL Within the Command 

Inherent in its primary mission as a supply line was the responsibil- 
ity of the Persian Gulf Command and its predecessors for the movement 
of POL. 47 Within the area of the command, of course, lay not only a 
large part of the civilian population of Iran with its normal petroleum 
demands, but also those organizations, principally military, of Iranian, 
British, Soviet, and American nationality, which required petroleum 
products in large quantities, both to fill the normal housekeeping re- 
quirements for maintenance of military establishments and forces and 
for the operation of shipping, ports, highway convoys, railways, and 
industrial enterprises such as motor vehicle and aircraft assembly 

The top authority over production and distribution of petroleum 
products in the area was the Baghdad Petroleum Advisory Committee, 

15 (1) Extract 25 Apr 45, Rpts, Ex Off to CofS, PGC. PGF 251-A, 251-B. (2) Ltr 
cited n. 40(4). (3) Rad WARX 280146Z, Jun 45. AG 635 Pertinent Correspondence — 
Drum Plants— Contl Br, Opns Div, Hq PGC. 

" Hist Rpt, Plants Br, Opns Div, Hq, PGC, 10 Aug 45. PGF 125-F. 

,; Unless otherwise noted, authority for facts and statistics in this and the next section 
rests upon: (1) HOTI, Pt. I, Ch. 8, sec. 3, History of Movements Branch, Operations 
Division, Hq, PGC, prepared by Movements Branch, Operations Division, with Supplement 
by Laurence P. Corbett, and statistical appendix, Complete Summary of Port and Trans- 
portation Agencies Performance of PGC Operations through 31 May 1945, 5 July 1945. 
PGF. Certain figures given in the text are the result of new computations based upon statistics 
in the Supplement. (2) Memo, Maj Lester S. Thompson, Petroleum Adviser to CofS, Hq, 
PGC, for CG, PGC, 28 Jan 44; sub: Relating to the Procurement, Storage, and Distribution 
of Petroleum Products. PGF 8-T. (3) Rpt cited n. 1(1). 


upon which a representative of the American command served with 
representatives of the AIOG and affiliated companies, PAI Force, the 
RAF, and the Petroleum Division of the British Ministry of Fuel and 
Power, London. 48 The findings and recommendations of the commit- 
tee's monthly meetings were submitted to the ministry in London, and 
through it to the U.S. Army-Navy Petroleum Board at Washington. 
Production and distribution were interpreted as covering oversight of 
responsibility and accountability for consumption, and, of course, all 
plans for distribution including highway, barge, rail, and pipeline 
transport, and the construction, location, and operation of container 
and filling plants. In the practical application of these responsibilities 
within the area, final decisions and allocation of responsibility for carry- 
ing them out were arranged by mutual agreement between the British 
and American local commands. This allocation shifted during the 
period of American activity in Iran, from rather incidental responsi- 
bility on the part of the Americans for their own early projects in 1942, 
to the fullest measure of responsibility in 1944-45, the period in which 
the American command virtually took over all Persian Corridor trans- 
port direction and control. During the period 1941-45 many agencies 
carried petroleum products within the area — agencies both civilian, 
like the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation and the AIOC, 
and military, like PAI Force, the RAF, and Soviet military organiza- 
tions. American statistics cover petroleum hauled by American- 
operated transport agencies, but do not necessarily cover all petroleum 
hauled, non-American records being unavailable. 

The complexity of the task of petroleum distribution can be gauged 
by a listing of the consumers within the area. Within the jurisdiction 
of the successive American commands, of which the Persian Gulf 
Command was the last, the largest consumers of fuel oil, which origi- 
nated in Iran, and of lubricants, which came from the United States, 
Were the Military Railway Service, which operated the railway, and 
the Motor Transport Service, which operated the convoys of trucks. 
The ISR had its own purchasing contract with the AIOC, but 
American petroleum statistics include, nevertheless, not only the fuel 
thus purchased to run the railway, but also the petroleum products 
carried over the railway for Soviet account under the several protocols 
and for all other purposes. Other requirements for petroleum products 
within the American command included that for operation of posts, 
camps, and stations; aviation gasoline (in addition to that carried north 
for Soviet account ) for the American Air Forces and ATC ; and POL 

" State Dept Rpt, British Controls in Iraq, by Richard E. Gnade, 25 Feb 44. Mid 330 
Great Britain, 3 Apr 44 ( 12 Mar 43). 


for the Eastern Command, briefly located inside Soviet territory in the 
shuttle-bombing program which was supplied through the Persian 
Corridor. There were also needs connected with the testing and flying 
of USSR aircraft assembled in the Corridor. 

Other consumption in the area, for which at one time or another 
the transport facilities operated by the American forces hauled petro- 
leum products, included Soviet air force and armies, PAI Force, Soviet 
military transport, the newly assembled Soviet trucks, newly assembled 
UKCC trucks, and the Iranian Army, Gendarmerie, military trans- 
port, and civilian needs. It is notable that in 1943-44 nearly twice as 
much fuel was delivered for Iranian domestic and civilian commercial 
use as ever before, and that the amount was further increased the 
following year in the face of all other demands that were being met 
within the Corridor. This was the result of increased oil production 
and refining as well as of vastly increased transportation facilities. 
Although during the Allied occupation Iran experienced inflation and 
a period of food shortage, the presence of foreign forces was accom- 
panied by increased domestic civilian consumption of petroleum 
products. In spite of the increased civilian consumption, American 
officials stated that there was no basis for the complaint of two Soviet 
officials in August 1943 that the "private motorist in Persia" was 
getting gasoline needed by the Soviets for the battles of Orel and 
Kharkov/ 9 Over-all Soviet petroleum requests were fully met. 

After General Connolly's arrival in the field in October 1942, a 
Movement Division of the Persian Gulf Service Command was set 
up in Basra. Since the previous July an American movements repre- 
sentative had performed liaison there between the small American de- 
tachment and the British forces and continued in general liaison work 
including the co-ordination of information relating to the first large- 
scale arrival of American troops in December 1942. The new Move- 
ment Division was officially activated on 5 January 1943 at Khorram- 
shahr, with three branches, including a Transportation Branch from 
which, by a reorganization of 15 March 1943, developed the Oil Sec- 
tion, Movements Branch, Operations Division. The Americans took 
over from the British on 1 May 1943 the control of USSR cargoes. The 
setting up of a separate Oil Section, as distinct from a Transportation 
Section within Movements Branch, emphasized the need for an office 
to deal with control and distribution of tank cars. Although after Janu- 
ary 1945 AIOC became responsible for maintaining full storage by 
means of an agreed allotment of tank cars, PGC still had to account for 

" Notes of Mtg held at Soviet Transportation Directorate, Tehran, 18 Aug 43, AG 337, 


operating delays in transit. Therefore, the Oil Section continued ac- 
tively until May 1945 when it was incorporated into the Inland Traffic 

To represent the command on the Baghdad Petroleum Advisory 
Committee, to act as technical adviser on all petroleum matters, and 
to co-ordinate petroleum activities within the theater, the Office of 
Petroleum Adviser was established in March 1943 and the adviser at- 
tached as special assistant to the chief of staff. On 23 December 1944 
the office was transferred to Operations Division and was dissolved on 
1 August 1945. 50 The petroleum products obtained by the American 
forces from the AIOC were supplied on reciprocal aid by requisitions 
made upon PAI Force. 

The movement of a basic commodity like petroleum must be ac- 
curately traced and exactly measured if it is to be statistically evaluated 
with relation to other types of cargoes. In the Persian Corridor the 
numerous agencies, with their different record-keeping systems, make 
a valid statistical analysis of petroleum movement performed by the 
U.S. Army impossible. Totals, unrelated to other figures, are difficult 
to comprehend and not significant in themselves; but they furnish the 
only materials for evaluation. 

American Army operation up to 31 March 1945 consumed 537,804 
long tons of petroleum, exclusive of lubricants. The ISR, whose cargoes 
were proportionately the greatest in the Corridor and are reliable as 
indicators of movement, carried 4,638,095 long tons north of Andi- 
meshk from August 1942 through May 1945. Of this total, 2,934,443 
long tons, including petroleum, were destined for the USSR. One 
source states that of that Soviet-destined tonnage carried by the ISR, 
653,659 long tons of petroleum were delivered at Tehran. 51 The Soviet 
share of total cargoes hauled north of Andimeshk by rail during this 
period was 63 percent; 40 percent of total rail tonnage was petroleum, 
more than one third of which was for Russia. The total rail cargo 
hauled north of Andimeshk in this period and not destined for the 
USSR was 1,155,041 long tons, more than half of it oil. The railway 
itself received 258,695 long tons in bulk oil; 553,014 long tons were for 
the Iranian civilian economy; and the balance was for American, 
British, and Russian military and civilian agencies in the area. 

The figures indicate that getting oil to many different consumers 
was no small task. Getting oil to the USSR, the high-priority consumer 

"° GO 85, Hq, PGC, 30 Jul 45. 

"This figure is from History cited n. 47(1). The Report on War Aid Furnished by the 
United States to the USSR, Foreign Economic Section, Office of Foreign Liquidation, 
Department of State 28 November 1945, gives the figure 555,202 long tons of Abadan 
petroleum products delivered to the USSR. The difference was petroleum imported into Iran. 


of the Persian Corridor for whose supply the American command pri- 
marily existed, was a special problem, additional to the general prob- 
lem of oil transport. 

Gasoline for Russia 

In the spring of 1943 it was apparent that the exigencies of the 
struggle on the Eastern Front would soon require the Soviets to call for 
greatly increased supplies of aviation gasoline from the Western 
Powers. On 1 2 May a message went from General Somervell to General 
Connolly requesting advice as to the feasibility of sending bulk ship- 
ments of aviation fuel via the Persian Corridor. 52 The Aviation Gasoline 
Program, world-wide in scope, was based, in the Persian Corridor area, 
upon an agreement reached in following months whereby the AIOC 
made available for Russian delivery amounts of high-octane aviation 
gasoline to be delivered by the American-operated transport agencies. 
The gasoline was. supplied on reverse lend-lease, subject to delivery in 
the United Kingdom of equivalent amounts of petroleum from Western 
Hemisphere sources to compensate the United Kingdom for AIOC 
products normally intended for their uses. The Persian Gulf part in the 
program came into effect as of 1 July 1943 under the Third (London) 
Protocol and continued through the Fourth (Ottawa) Protocol, which 
was effective through 12 May 1945. Over half a million long tons thus 
went to the USSR from the Abadan refinery. 

Preliminary estimates in May 1943 were for haulage of 5,000 long 
tons per month. To superimpose the new burden upon the already in- 
creasing transport demands in the Corridor required not only new and 
complex arrangements for railway tank cars, highway haulage, ship- 
ping — including tankers and barges — storage facilities, and container 
filling, but development of new transport means such as pipelines, and 
a high degree of co-ordination of all these factors. As arrangements de- 
veloped, capacity estimates by July 1943 had increased to 10,000 long 
tons per month and were projected at that level through June 1944. 
By November 1943, however, it was possible to raise the target to 25,000 
long tons per month, and in the following July the target was stepped 
up to 37,000, of which 23,000 were to be carried in railway tank cars 
and 14,000 in drums. The figure of 37,000 long tons per month con- 
tinued to April 1945, dropped in May to 25,000, and on 1 June 1945 
the program was terminated. 53 

B Rad, Somervell to Connolly, 12 May 43, AG 337, Hq, PGC, quoted HOTI, Pt. VII, 
Ch. 7, Information on Gasoline to Russia, by Ogden C. Reed. PGF. 

M During 1944 planning included commitments for Frantic, the U.S. Army Eastern 
Command shuttle-bombing mission located in the USSR. A large proportion of the tonnage 
hauled over the ISR during June, July, August, and September 1944 for that mission consisted 


The steady increase in USSR bulk petroleum products (high- 
octane gasoline and alkylate), carried from September 1943 on into 
1945, was accomplished without affecting the distribution of petroleum 
for other uses within the Corridor. This achievement was made possible 
through a number of factors. The fleet of tank cars available in July 
1943 for USSR petroleum was only forty cars. By March 1945, 400 
tank cars transported 32,855 long tons of high-octane gasoline. The 
tank car turnaround period of fifteen days in 1943 dropped to half that 
in 1945. Economies and efficiencies all down the line contributed; but 
the most significant factor was the erection of new installations, called 
Petroleum Base 4 (P-4) and Petroleum Base 7 (P-7) near 

Although by the summer of 1943 the AIOC in conjunction with 
PAI Force had already established a number of fuel bases for reception, 
storage and distribution of petroleum, the increased requirements 
called for additional facilities. A site two miles north of Khorramshahr 
adjacent to the PGSC's Ports Service Motor Pool was selected and in 
August 1943 construction of P-4 was begun. Leveling of the area and 
laying the concrete floor was accomplished by American Khorramshahr 
Post engineers while above-ground facilities were constructed by the 
British Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The AIOC in- 
stalled pipelines and distribution points and on 25 November 1943 
rail tank cars began to move north out of P-4. 

P-4 thus became the terminus of pipelines from the Abadan re- 
finery. At this base fuel was distributed to tank cars by use of small 
pressure pumps. The installation also filled drums for truck haulage. 
In addition it served as a transportation clearing yard for rail and 
truck movements to the Soviet receiving points on the Caspian Sea. 
The drumming of gasoline, with which American troops were par- 
ticularly concerned in this co-operative Anglo-American undertaking, 
did not commence until May 1944. Responsibility was divided among 
numerous agencies. AIOC supplied the gasoline; U.S. Khorramshahr 
Port Transportation along with British Movement Control arranged 
for transport scheduling; the 6th British Petrol Staff and the 153d 
(later 154th) Indian Depot (Indian Army Sendee Force) filled tank 
cars and tested, washed, and filled drums; while American personnel 
from Khorramshahr port handled the loading and unloading of drums 

of aviation gasoline. The tonnages hauled by rail north of Andimeshk for Frantic were: 
1,230 long tons, June; 6,547, July; 678, August; and 58, September. A radio from Connolly 
to Somervell indicates that the American command was prepared to haul 12,000 long tons for 
Frantic in August. The reduction and eventual conclusion of that mission made this un- 
necessary. Rad 28 Jul 44, AG 337, Hq PGC, quoted History cited n. 52. 


and the spotting of rail cars and trucks. Russian inspection officers 
completed the P-4 team. 

P-4 had been in operation something over a year when acute need 
for further facilities set the Americans to construction of the near-by 
sister installation, P-7, designed to serve for 100-octane fuel, while 
P-4 would handle 70-octane. Construction was quickly accomplished; 
but by January 1945, P-7 became a storage area and P-4 handled all 
100-octane gasoline. At the end of April the U.S. Army withdrew, 
handing over to PAI Force, although the American Port Transporta- 
tion Office continued to assist in movement matters. During the period 
of its operation P-4 cased and shipped over 275,000,000 gallons of 70- 
and 100-octane fuel to Soviet receiving points. The base averaged 1,200 
tank cars or over 9,000,000 gallons of gasoline monthly by rail 
and approximately 2,500,000 gallons in drums monthly." 

" Hist Rpt, Ports Serv, Apr 45. PGF 26-B. 


Truck Transport 

Construction, assembly, and petroleum operations were vital but 
secondary parts of the American mission. By directive of the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff the primary mission was transport. An American truck- 
ing service, first proposed in May 1942 by General Somervell, was re- 
garded by the SOS planners as supplementary to existing British truck- 
ing organizations. 1 It therefore received a priority lower than that 
accorded to the American organizations for ports and railway. This 
was not because the planners failed to recognize urgent trucking re- 
quirements. The crisis of midsummer 1942 had demonstrated that, 
until rail capacity in the Corridor could be vastly improved, the only 
hope of dealing with mounting backlogs of cargo at the ports was to 
strengthen the existing British motor transport system, as operated by 
the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation and British military 
trucking units. The assignment of third priority status to an American 
trucking organization resulted rather from the long-term view that, 
since there was no possibility of organizing and shipping a fully function- 
ing American trucking outfit to the Corridor in time to affect the im- 
mediate problem that faced the planners in August 1942, it was best to 
encourage such local assistance to UKCC as was possible while organiz- 
ing and putting into the field an American motor transport service. 
American trucks would strengthen the British services. Unlike the 
American port and rail services, the Motor Transport Service was not 
to supplant any existing British activity. 

In a country of desert and mountain, ill supplied with highways, 
relatively waterless, and subject to extremes of climate, transport by 
road was less efficient by all measurements than bulk transport by rail. 
Furthermore, granting adequate capacity both by road and rail, there 
would always be cargoes that were not truckable ; and granting maxi- 
mum rail development, the need for truck operations would corre- 
spondingly decrease. Planning for a motor transport service was thus 
subject to greater contradictions and more uncertainties than was 

'Rad 177, Somervell to AMSIR, 9 May 42. AG 400.3295 (8-9-41) Sec 5. 


planning for rail expansion. A trucking organization, even as a tempo- 
rary expedient, required highways adequate to heavy usage. To this 
contradiction between permanent highways and temporary planned 
use were added the basic uncertainties existing at the time the SOS 
Plan was being evolved. The SOS planners' estimates, which depended 
on important unknowns such as the routes to be used and the extent to 
which an American motor transport service was to supplement UKCC 
operations, were subject to further variables inherent in the nature of 
truckable cargoes. Estimates relying upon a steady flow of tonnages 
were at best tentative. 

In its provision for trucking the SOS Plan therefore confined itself 
to a statement of general intentions. Its estimate of required personnel 
proved accurate enough: 5,291 men for road operations plus an addi- 
tional 4,515 for highway and vehicle maintenance. Estimates of re- 
quired vehicles and anticipated targets, on the other hand, were not 
achieved. The hope of the planners to supply 7,200 trucks of 7-ton 
average capacity was not realized, and all calculations based upon the 
use of larger trucks were overturned when the Motor Transport Service 
found it would have to use whatever vehicles it could get. In the matter 
of target estimates, the SOS planners were in no position to indicate 
what proportion of the 172,000 tons of ultimate monthly road capacity 
it expected the MTS to handle and what proportion was for British 
agencies, nor could the plan indicate precisely what part of the total 
it expected to be USSR tonnage. With only the vaguest of maps, MTS 
launched itself upon a road wrapped in mists and marked by un- 
expected turnings. 

The Preliminaries 

Planning, early organization and procurement, overseas shipment, 
and early operations were all carried forward under the necessity of 
adjusting the concepts of the SOS Plan to field realities. On 9 Oc- 
tober 1942, shortly after approval of the SOS Plan, Headquarters 
and Headquarters Company, MTS, was formally activated at Camp 
Lee, Virginia, with Col. Mark V. Brunson as director. He was assisted 
by two Regular Army officers and three experienced truck fleet opera- 
tors and maintenance experts commissioned from civilian life. 2 

'Unless otherwise noted, this chapter draws upon: (1) Historical Outline of Motor 
Transport Service 1616-D, U.S. Army, PGC, PGF 131-B. (2) Monthly Hist Rpts, MTS, 
1 Mar 43 through 31 Oct 44, with atchd Accident Rpts. PGF 131. (3) Monthly Rpts of 
Opns, MTS, for Mar, Jun, Jul, Aug 43. PGF 131. (4) History of the Motor Transport 
Service [unsigned and undated but late 1944]. PGF 131-W. (5) HOTI, Pt. VI, History 
of the Motor Transport Service, by Wallace P. Rusterholtz. PGF. (6) Plan for the Operation 
of the Motor Transport Service, PGSC, by Col Brunson, 15 Jan 43. PGF 131. (7) Functions 


Personnel estimates called for two truck regiments totaling 3,270 
officers and men. This somewhat greater than standard strength 
allowed for unpredictable operating situations. A minimum of two 
automotive maintenance battalions — one medium and one heavy- 
was provided for, with a considerable assortment of engineer troops 
for highway construction and maintenance and for construction of 
sheds, shops, camps, and other necessary facilities. Recruitment was 
marked in its first stages by haste and confusion; however, it was 
distinguished by the effort to obtain from the ranks of experienced 
trucking men both top experts and the great body of drivers, mechanics, 
and dispatchers upon whose skill and fortitude hung the ability to throw 
an organization together in short order. The quartermaster authorities, 
to whom Headquarters 1616 delegated the trucking problem early in 
October, appealed to the American Trucking Associations, Inc., at 
Washington for advice and assistance in speedily assembling adequate 
numbers of experienced men. In five days the organization, through 
telegrams to 350 regional members of its Special War Committee who 
in turn vigorously stimulated enlistments locally through handbills 
and radio, brought in to the Army from the ranks of the civilian 
trucking world 5,377 applications for enlisted grades and 263 officer 
candidates. The response exceeded expectations and was due, in part, 
to the fact that word got around that the new recruits would be eli- 
gible for advanced grades and would be exempt from many features 
of Army training. When this impression was corrected — as it was 
promptly — enthusiasm somewhat diminished. Evidence conflicts as 
to how many men were actually inducted from among the appli- 
cants solicited; but the 516th Quartermaster Truck Regiment 
was largely staffed by officers who had been fleet maintenance 
men, traffic experts, and specialists in fuel distribution and cargo 
handling, and manned by experienced dispatchers, drivers, and me- 
chanics. The other regiment called for by the SOS Plan, the 517th, 
suffered from the reaction which set in among truckmen after the 
confusion over promises had been cleared up. Its strength was largely 
composed of assignments and transfers from other troop units in the 
Army and not of men with specific trucking skills and experience/ 

of MTS and Troop Units As sig ne d Thereto.-EGE 122. (8) For data on performance and 
civilian personnel see Table j4| t> JJ_3| and Chart J2|6l 

* The recruiting campaign was conducteaTnconsultation with Army officials. Colonel 
Branson and others conferred at the American Trucking Associations' headquarters in Wash- 
ington and worked closely with the association; there were no written instructions or 
commitments. The present account draws upon Interv with John Lawrence, Mgr, American 
Trucking Associations, 16 Mar 50. Hist Rpt, 2d Bn, 516th QM Truck Regt, Nov 42, 
PGF 52-2-J; and pages 2-3, Outline cited n. 2(1). 


Step by step the organization took shape. In November Colonel 
Brunson and three officer assistants arrived by air at Basra to investi- 
gate routes and sources of fuel supply; to accept some two hundred 
trucks turned over by UKCC and the British Army at Bushire and 
Tehran ; and to plan for establishment of MTS relay stations along the 
highway from Khorramshahr northward, for schools to train native 
drivers and mechanics, and for fleet operations. On 17 December 
the MTS was established as an operating service of the American 
command. 4 When command headquarters moved early in January 
1943 to Tehran, MTS moved its headquarters there, too. In December 
1942 the 429th Engineer Dump Truck Company and a First Pro- 
visional Truck Company, composed of men drawn from other PGSC 
units in the field, were assigned to MTS. Their first duty was to accept 
and assemble the trucks received from the British, and to drive admin- 
istrative vehicles for the three territorial districts of the command. 
In January 1943 a school for training native civilian driver- interpreter- 
instructors was opened at Tehran. It turned out some seventy instruc- 
tors and paved the way for the opening in February of a school at 
Andimeshk to train native drivers. The start of this enterprise was 
delayed until the arrival from the United States of Headquarters and 
Headquarters Company, MTS, from which its staff of instructors was 
drawn supplemented by graduates of the interpreter school. The 
roster of MTS was further strengthened in February by the arrival of 
the 3d Battalion of the 26th Truck Regiment, a Negro outfit destined 
to join the 5 1 7th Truck Regiment when it should complete its train- 
ing and arrive in the field. In anticipation of the commencement of 
trucking operations, the 3430th Ordnance Medium Automotive Main- 
tenance Company, an early arrival, was assigned in February to estab- 
lish and man relay, service, and repair stations along the route from 
Khorramshahr to Kazvin. 

The assembly of men and equipment, the laying out of service 
stations, and the gathering of data were among the preliminaries that 
had to be accomplished before regular American trucking service could 
begin. There were also problems related to the route itself which 
pressed for early solution. Because of the concentration of American 
activity at the port of Khorramshahr and the impossibility of manning, 
fueling, and provisioning more than one route, the highway north from 
there provided the inevitable route for the MTS. But no part of the 
highway to Kazvin, in December 1942, was fit for heavy and continu- 
ous traffic. The sector from Andimeshk south by the year's end was 

' GO 1 1 , Hq, PGSC, 1 7 Dec 42. 


provided with a temporary roadway. Bridges and some road con- 
struction had been accomplished on the permanent road ; but, thanks 
to the floods of March 1943 which washed away much of what had 
been built up to that time, construction of the permanent all-weather, 
two-lane highway from Khorramshahr to Andimeshk occupied the 
greater part of 1943. As for the northern sector, where the problem 
was the improvement of an existing road, the American engineer 
troops did not begin work until June. They progressed so well, along 
with companion British forces, that by the end of the year barely fifty 
miles remained unprovided with a hard surface. 

The route from Khorramshahr to Andimeshk crosses a low, sandy 
plain, varying in elevation from 10 feet at Khorramshahr to 70 feet at 
Ahwaz and 500 feet at Andimeshk — windy, hot, an d dry, swep t in 
summer by dust storms and in winter by heavy rains. \(Map 4y[ The 
Karun River and the Ab-i-Diz, roughly paralleling the road, run close 
enough to provide the flood hazard which proved so damaging just 
as MTS was going into action. Beyond Andimeshk the terrain is char- 
acterized by deep gorges and rugged mountains. Some of the ascents 
are abrupt and steep, occasionally rising as sharply as grades of 10 to 
12 percent (roads in the United States seldom exceed 10 percent). 
A notable example of this is the Avej Pass (elevation 7,776 feet), the 
highest point along the MTS route. Heavy snowdrifts and bitter cold 
in winter, with temperatures dropping as low as 25° F., below zero, 
proved hazardous features of this 5-mile climbing section of the road. 

Along this route, UKCC, which had been hauling Russian-aid, 
British military, and other cargoes since late 1941, had established a 
chain of repair and rest stations at Ahwaz, Andimeshk, Khurramabad, 
Hamadan, and Kazvin, with a northernmost terminus at Tabriz, capital 
of the province of Azerbaijan, well within the Soviet zone. Plans for a 
supplementary American trucking service over the same route had 
assumed the farthest destination. The SOS Plan had stated, "Truck 
convoys will pass over these routes to Tabriz, Pahlevi, and other delivery 
points to the Russians," and Colonel Brunson's January 1943 plan for 
operations listed Tabriz as the destination of first priority, with Chalus 
and Pahlevi, on the Caspian, following — all of them inside the Soviet 
zone. This understanding was confirmed in conference on 16 January 
with the Soviet liaison officer for lend-lease shipments, Colonel Zorin. 5 

Developments in February threw into doubt the several termini 
for American operations. The Soviets refused to issue passes to Ameri- 

'Merao, Col Ward, Deputy Dir, MTS, PGSC, for CG, PGSC, 16 Jan 43, sub: Conf 
with Col Zorin. PGF 131. 

MAP 4 


can soldier-drivers and workers and notified General Connolly that 
special application and arrangements would have to be made for sites 
for American camps near Tabriz, Zenjan, and the Caspian ports. Such 
applications, promptly made, went unanswered. Suspecting that the 
difficulty may have arisen from a conflict of overlapping Soviet juris- 
dictions, Connolly appealed to General Faymonville at Moscow for 
help and warned that if the destinations planned for were not available, 
MTS cargo would have to be dumped at Kazvin, on the border of the 
Soviet zone, to be carried forward from there by the Soviet forces. On 
19 February, no change having taken place in the situation, General 
Connolly wrote to Gen. Anatoli N. Korolyev, Chief of the Soviet 
Transportation Department in Iran, that all movement orders to 
American troops beyond the zonal border had been revoked. By 1 
March Kazvin was agreed upon as the delivery point for MTS cargoes 
and, despite a change of mind by the Soviets within a week, when they 
again suggested that the Americans deliver cargo to the Caspian ports 
and Tabriz, Connolly held his ground and so reported to the American 
Embassy, Moscow, and to General Marshall. Although the Soviets 
made a specific request in June for delivery of cargo at Pahlevi, Kazvin 
remained the American terminus with the exception of a brief period 
between September and November 1944 when special MTS convoys, 
equipped with their own radio communications, went through to 
Tabriz. The situation recalls the similar uncertainty of Soviet policy 
in the matter of the terminal checkup stations which were a part of the 
system for delivering assembled motor vehicles. 8 

Meanwhile in January an understanding was reached with the 
British on the gradual meshing of the new American trucking operation 
with the existing services of UKCC. At a meeting attended by General 
Connolly for PGSC, General Selby of GHQ, PAI Force, and R. H. 
Evans, Managing Director of UKCC, it was agreed that by 1 March 
a small American fleet could be assembled and manned to begin truck- 
ing as far south as the condition of the road permitted and to continue 
to whatever northern terminus was being used at that date. Pending 
the time when sufficient men and vehicles would permit full-scale MTS 
operations, the Americans would act as unpaid contractors for the 
UKCC fleet and UKCC would make no demand upon the USSR for 

" (1) Ltr, Gen Scott, CofS, PGSC, to Col Zorin, 5 Feb 43. PGF 131. (2) Rad TN 1162, 
Connolly to Faymonville, 16 Feb 43. PGF 131. (3) Ltr, Connolly to Korolyev, 19 Feb 43. 
PGF 131. (4) Rad TN 2054, Connolly to Standley for Favmonvi'lle, 12 Mar 43. PGF 131. 

(5) Rad TN 2056, Connolly to Marshall, 12 Mar 43. AG 400.3295 Russia, Hq AMET. 

(6) Ltr. Connolly to Korolyev, 4 Aug 43. PGF 131. 


payment for carrying goods by MTS trucks. 7 The MTS would use 
UKCC and British military staging camp facilities and services along 
the road and was to be responsible for guarding its vehicles and for 
supervising their loading and unloading, while UKCC would arrange 
for loading and unloading and would perform all accounting. It was 
further agreed that when MTS went into full-scale operation on its 
own, UKCC would transfer its facilities at Andimeshk and appropriate 
adjustments in traffic control of the highway would be made. From 
then onward, during a period of anticipated rising tonnage, UKCC 
would serve as an unpaid contractor to MTS. This last provision did 
not become effective. Concerning lend-lease vehicles, parts, equipment, 
and supplies there was some disagreement. The Americans proposed 
that as these had been allocated to the British for transporting Russian- 
aid cargo and since that function was being assumed by the Americans 
all such equipment as was in storage, en route, or on order should be 
consigned to PGSC for proper allocation, General Selby disagreed, 
stating that he understood allocations would be made by the British 
in consultation with the Americans. The maturing of MTS as an 
operating agency of PGSC eventually eliminated occasion for 
disagreement on this point. 8 

The Trucks Start Rolling 

Although there was a small amount of loading activity in late Feb- 
ruary, MTS operations began officially on 1 March when some 400 
trucks started moving Russian-aid cargo out of Andimeshk. The road 
south of there was not yet usable for regular service. Inasmuch as the 
516th Truck Regiment did not reach the field until May, the 517th 
until July, and other increments of strength and equipment until No- 
vember, early operations were on a small scale. Available MTS man- 
power was supplemented by drawing upon other PGSC units; and as 
MTS strength, before May, was heavier in mechanics and maintenance 
men than in drivers, these categories were called upon for duty in both 
capacities. The small fleet of trucks grew by fall to about 2,500 vehicles, 
reaching by September 1944 a total somewhat in excess of 6,000. 
Smaller than the fleet projected in the SOS Plan, the total nevertheless 

'The size of the UKCC fleet was estimated by Lockard, as of 1 August 1942, as 1,300 
lend-lease trucks directly operated by UKCC and about 1,000 Iranian trucks operated on 
contract. The U.S. military attache at Tehran reported on 5 December 1942 that UKCC 
was then operating directly some 1,330 trucks. Rpt 32, 5 Dec 42, MID 523.091 Iran 12-5^42 
( 1 1—23^42 ) . How many of these vehicles were in service over the usable portions of the 
Krtorramshahr-Kazvin-Tabriz highway it is impossible to state. 

"Min of UKCC Conf held at U.S. Hq, 9:30 A.M., 20 Jan 43. AG 334.8, Hq AMET. 
Another copy PGF 131. 


proved adequate for the shorter route actually used in MTS operations. 

The first trucks out of Andimeshk drove as a closed convoy to 
Kazvin, arriving on 4 March. They were followed by daily departures ; 
but t he month 's score in Russian-aid cargo came to only 3,570 long 
tons. (\Table 6\ Appendix A ) Whether the score was high depended on 
how much truckable cargo was available and what MTS capacity was 
at the time — both being unknown quantities. Perhaps it should have 
been higher ; in any case, March conspired to demonstrate in one com- 
pact lesson many of the problems that would have to be solved before 
MTS could make a significant contribution to inland clearance. The 
weather was unusually severe and Avej Pass was closed to traffic for 
one week of the month. It was to be months before systematic road 
improvement and maintenance north of Andimeshk started and the 
road was therefore a hazard in itself; for the rest of the early story, the 
word inadequate covers the numbers of men available for driving, 
maintenance, loading, and unloading and characterizes supply and 
security measures taken against pilferage of cargo. 

General Connolly was not satisfied with the share of the inland 
clearance burden being borne by MTS and felt that tighter organiza- 
tion, improved operating methods, and more vigorous command could 
make better headway against the many handicaps so apparent in early 
March. It had been expected that, until the railway attained maxi- 
mum capacity, trucking would play a large part in taking cargoes 
away from the ports, and, as the figures show, MTS tonnages through 
March 1943 were small. Accordingly, Connolly suddenly asked Colonel 
Shingler to take over MTS on 1 3 March. Shingler was tested by long 
experience in the area. He had come out in 1941 with Wheeler, suc- 
ceeded to the command of the Iranian Mission on Wheeler's departure 
for India, and had served as commanding officer of the successor 
organizations until Connolly's appointment late in 1942. He then acted 
as chief of staff until General Scott's arrival in November. Next month 
Connolly put Shingler in command of Basra District, with jurisdiction 
over the critical early operations at the ports. Experience qualified 
Shingler as a number one trouble shooter. The task he assumed was 
both delicate and critical, for MTS was largely staffed with profes- 
sional truckers from civilian life and military transportation experts. 
His most important contribution to increased MTS performance was 
the prompt introduction of the block system of dispatching vehicles, 
noticed later. He also instituted changes in truck servicing at transfer 
points and devised more expeditious methods of loading and unload- 
ing. The immediate result was doubled tonnage for April, and a score 
for September, the last month of Shingler's service, nearly seven times 


that of March. Methods of trucking developed by him in the Persian 
Corridor were effectively used in Europe in 1944 in connection with 
the Red Ball Express. 9 

The administrative organization of MTS early assumed the basic 
form which, despite minor changes, was to continue to the end. The 
effort to distinguish functions as administrative and operational 
resulted at the start in an arrangement whereby serving under the 
director were an executive officer in charge of Administration and 
Supply Divisions and a manager in charge of Operations and Main- 
tenance Divisions. This continued until Col. Glenn R. Ward, who had 
been manager, was elevated to the post of director and combined in 
himself both the administrative and operational functions of command. 
A fifth staff division, called Training, appeared in the March 1943 
organization chart. It was charged with training both military and 
civilian drivers. The November 1943 chart shows this function, as 
regards military training, transferred to the Administration Division. 
A new division, for civilian personnel, handled all matters pertaining 
to the recruiting, training, pay, and administration of native employees. 
At MTS headquarters at Tehran branches for investigation, traffic 
control, accident prevention, and statistical analysis and compilation 
(a function different from documentation, which was performed 
within the Operations Division of MTS) were in November 1943 
directly tributary to the office of the MTS executive. Later they were 
absorbed into the staff divisions. 10 

Provision was made in the earliest organization plans for field 
stations along the highway. These were to furnish necessary services, 
and as time went on they took on similar characteristics and functions, 
each being provided with a refueling point, grease pits, tool room, 
battery recharging unit, storage rooms, open sheds with bays for 
second and third echelon maintenance and repair, and accommoda- 
tions to feed and house the drivers. Some of these functions were of a 
housekeeping nature and were exercised by the district commanders of 
the three territorial districts. Others, especially such as were uniquely 
applicable to a motor transport service (the provision, for example, 
of fuel oil, lubricants, and gasoline ) , became the specific responsibility 
of MTS. Field services were consolidated in time by the division of the 

' (1) Interv with Gen Connolly, Pentagon, 18 Aug 50. (2) Notes supplied the author 
by General Shingler, 16 May 1950. (3) Shingler was succeeded on 22 September 1943 by 
Col. Glenn R. Ward, who joined MTS under Colonel Brunson at activation. He was relieved 
on 27 October by Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Sweet, who served until MTS was disbanded on 
1 December 1944. Between September and November 1944, in Sweet's absence in the United 
States, Colonel Anderson served as director. Ltr, Gen Sweet to author, 12 Jul 50. 

10 Organization Manual for Mar 43 ; Charts for Mar, Nov 43, Oct 44. PGF 240. 


highway route into two sectors designated as the Northern Division — 
from Kazvin south to Khurramabad; and the Southern Division — 
from Khurramabad to Khorramshahr. In October 1943, after the 
arrival of nearly all troops assigned to MTS, a rearrangement of sta- 
tions brought all units of the 516th Truck Regiment into the Northern 
Division and placed all units of the 517th in the Southern Division. 
The respective division commanders, who were the regimental com- 
manders, were responsible to the director of MTS for operation, main- 
tenance, traffic control, cargo handling, supply, administration, dis- 
cipline, and housekeeping in their divisions. The Northern Division 
functioned through main field stations at Khurramabad, Hamadan, 
and Kazvin, and minor stations at Burujird and Avej; the Southern 
Division maintained principal stations at Khorramshahr, Ahwaz, and 
Andimeshk, and a minor station at Jelogir. A separate office for an 
MTS port officer was at Khorramshahr. 11 

On the administrative side MTS developed, as an expression of 
its special operating function, not only a semiautonomy in supply which 
distinguished it from the other operating services of the command but 
also virtual autonomy (always within the limits governed by para- 
mount British responsibilities) in security and related matters. After 
MTS began its regular trucking operations but before it was clear just 
what would be its eventual responsibilities in control of the highway 
route, its director proposed that all the military police in the command 
be assigned to MTS for use in traffic regulation. Half of the military 
police in the command, constituting B and D Companies of the 727th 
Military Police Battalion, were assigned to MTS and were placed 
under a command so all-embracing that the provost marshal was later 
forced to take steps to prevent use of MP's as truck drivers at times 
when MTS manpower was inadequate and desperate measures were 
called for to meet assigned targets. 12 The duties of MP's thus placed 
under MTS command were defined and their activities regulated by 

Security, in the sense in which the word had meaning for MTS 
operations, covered several important aspects of the motor transport 

11 In April 1943 the Third Provisional Truck Company was diverted from dutyj^ith the 
MTS to haul U.S. Army cargoes from Khorramshahr to Ahwaz and Andimeshk [Table 6, 
n. d). Because it took over from port transportation officers incidental haulage dimcuit to 
co-ordinate with their main functions, and because it did not operate within regular MTS 
schedules, this company served, from 14 May 1943 to 27 September 1944, under jurisdiction 
of Movements Branch, Operations Division, suboffices at Khorramshahr and Ahwaz. Memo, 
Maj Gordon D. Cornell, Ex Off, Office of Port Comdr, Khorramshahr, 24 Apr 43. PGF 26-A. 

"Report of Military Police Activities, PGC, United States Army, p. 121. PGF 130. 
Section VIII of this report, especially those portions (pp. 108-22) dealing with traffic control 
for MTS and with convoy problems, with exhibits and appendixes, is a valuable and detailed 
source of information. 


mission. Fundamentally, it included the execution and enforcement of 
regulations established for the dispatch and movement of MTS ve- 
hicles; and, while there was no American responsibility for over-all 
security, MTS, by Anglo-American agreement, had to look out for 
its own property and the safety of its own troops and employees. The 
MP's, who were spread out from eleven police stations up and down the 
line of traffic — Company B within the Southern Division; Company 
D, the Northern — had therefore not only to keep traffic moving but 
to check individual trucks and drivers, to enforce rules for speed, dis- 
stance, stopping, and starting, to prevent and to investigate accidents, 
to deal with pilferage, and to detect illegal haulage of cargo and 

Full American control of the highway came slowly, following 
American responsibility for road maintenance and the steps by which 
UKCC reduced its own activity over the route. In fact, except for de- 
velopments in operational procedures such as loading and unloading 
and highway and vehicle maintenance, nearly all the mileposts in the 
MTS story mark decisions and policies which can be related to the pri- 
mary problem of traffic control— the dispatch and movement of trucks. 

Two methods of dispatching MTS trucks were used. For the first 
four weeks they proceeded in normal military convoy units; but, as 
the shortage of trucks was greater than the shortage of drivers, this 
method, which entailed taking trucks through to destination with one 
driver, left trucks standing idle while drivers were resting. A secondary 
disadvantage arose from the climatic changes through which the route 
passed. A driver starting at the desert end in thin clothing met with snow 
and freezing weather north of Andimeshk and either proceeded with 
inadequate protection or had to stop to change, thus delaying the run. 

On 28 March Colonel Shingler introduced the block system. The 
route was divided into four blocks with an MTS camp at the end of 
each — at Andimeshk, Khurramabad, Hamadan, and Kazvin — the 
four blocks requiring respectively 8, 12, 12, and 8 hours' running time. 
Under the block system drivers operated out of home stations, taking 
their trucks to the next station where they handed them over to the 
driver on the next block. After a rest period of a day or overnight, the 
drivers drove empty southbound trucks back to their home stations. 
Vehicles could thus be operated night and day, with time out only for 
servicing and maintenance. At the terminals of the route, schedules 
permitted time for thorough overhaul before redispatch of vehicles. 
Having served during the heaviest period of hauling activity, the block 
system was replaced on 28 August 1944 by the convoy system. In 
effectiveness there was little to choose between the two methods, given 


the same number and type of trucks and equal resources in manpower. 
With limited equipment but ample personnel, on the one hand, the 
block system, permitting round-the-clock operation, was the more ex- 
peditious. On the other hand, the normal military convoy system 
required less elaborate station operations and smaller maintenance 
plants manned with fewer service men and, since the driver was re- 
sponsible for his truck and cargo the full length of the trip, checking of 
cargoes at transfer points and need for precautions against pilferage 
were reduced. 

The control of traffic passed through several phases. For some time 
Gulf and Desert District commanders were responsible for the control 
of MTS convoys south of Andimeshk, but exercised no responsibility 
for the other users of the road — Iranian civil and military vehicles, 
Russian soldiers driving trucks north from the Khorramshahr Truck 
Assembly Plant, and British vehicles under the control of the British 
Army, UKCC, and AIOC. In July, UKCC, having previously trans- 
ferred its large rail-to-truck transfer installation at Andimeshk to 
MTS, 13 rerouted its heaviest traffic westward to the Khanaqin Lift, 
thus relieving the Khorramshahr-Andimeshk leg of the highway of a 
considerable burden as well as the section between Andimeshk and 
Hamadan. But at Hamadan the British trucks from Khanaqin and 
Kermanshah rejoined the American route and proceeded thence to 
Kazvin and beyond. Especially during the rest of 1943, when the whole 
length of the route from Khorramshahr to Kazvin was still under con- 
struction and repair, congestion continued. American traffic beyond 
Andimeshk had for some time been regulated by the MP's assigned 
to MTS; but, although an international Highway Traffic Committee 
met periodically to consult on traffic problems, no unified control — 
save that nominally provided by British security authorities — existed. 

Congestion was not the only road hazard nor the only cause for 
delays and difficulties. Truck drivers were not experienced in military 
traffic procedures and had to be trained while operations continued. 
Military police were at the start inadequately trained. There were re- 
ports in April 1943 that some American drivers held to the center of 
the road to prevent others from passing; that Russian convoys were 
disregarding one-way traffic control and going through to the con- 
fusion of others; and that Russian vehicles parked in the middle of the 
road for repairs and rest. Many of the Soviet convoy trucks were driven 
by soldiers recuperating from battle wounds, assigned to the Persian 

" As compensation the sum of 2,356,752 rials (over $70,000) was charged by UKCC to the 
British Army which in turn debited the amount to PGSC as reciprocal aid. Rad, Hq, PGSC, 
to Hq, PAI Force, 1 Jun 43. AG 095 UKCC, Hq PGC. 


Corridor for a kind of holiday and making the trip for the first and only 
time over unfamiliar terrain. Native drivers of UKCC, MTS, and 
Iranian vehicles posed numerous problems. To centralize control it was 
therefore agreed that MTS should regulate traffic using the highway 
between Khorramshahr and Takistan, twenty miles south of Kazvin — 
civil and military, American, British, Iranian, and Soviet. 14 

The first fruit of the new responsibility was the introduction in 
September 1943 of a system of time bands to minimize congestion 
and to give necessary priority to MTS convoys, which in that month 
began a quick rise in delivered tonnage that was to attain in Decem- 
ber the highest all-cargo and the second highest Russian-aid total 
achieved in the life of the service. Each hauling agency using the road 
was allotted specific hours of the day (time bands) during which its 
trucks were assured .operating priority on certain sectors of the road. 
Outside the proper bands, the movement of as many as ten vehicles 
in any 24-hour period was permitted without restriction. MTS received 
two 5-hour bands per day in each direction when it had priority. 
Within each of the four time bands — two north and two south each 
day — MTS trucks moved in serials containing from twenty-five to 
thirty-four trucks each. Midway stations were established in all blocks 
where trucks were fueled, the oil checked, and the drivers given rest 
and food. In the southern area water stops were set up along the way. 
After eight to twelve hours of driving time trucks stopped for checkup 
and relief drivers took over. 

Operations and Obstacles 

The equitable sharing of the road among many users was an 
important accomplishment. It proved easier to bring about than the 
solution of such problems as training native drivers, reducing the rate 
of accidents, preventing pilferage, establishing communications, over- 
coming shortages in men and machines, and maintaining personnel 
and equipment in good working order. 

The provost marshal of the command has stated that the program 
for training native drivers "reflects great credit" upon the MTS. 15 
The condition of driver shortages was chronic with the MTS until well 
past the middle of 1943, and in times of special stress there were never 
enough military drivers to meet emergency increases in tonnages. To 
deal with the problem, mechanics, clerks, and even MP's were sum- 
moned to duty from time to time ; men with only four hours' rest were 

" Cir 73, Hq, PGSC, 13 Aug 43. 
" Page 1 1 1 of Rpt cited n. 12. 


sent back to the road; and men unfamiliar with the road or, for that 
matter, with driving great trucks or responding to convoy signals were 
pressed into service. The number of soldiers was limited; and therefore, 
very early, a systematic program was undertaken for training natives. 
The shift in March from the convoy to the block system called for 
increased overhead and station personnel months before the scheduled 
arrival of the first truck regiment from the United States could 
supply them. 

A drive to recruit 3,500 natives as mechanics and drivers, begun 
in January 194-3, was supplemented in that month by establishment of 
the school at Tehran to train driver-interpreters. Its seventy graduates 
furnished a pool of instructors for the three drivers' schools, the first 
of them opened at Andimeshk in February, followed by others at 
Hamadan and Kazvin. A supplementary diesel school held for specially 
selected drivers in December 1943 produced 800 qualified drivers. 
When it is realized that the pupils in these schools had most of them 
never ridden in a motor vehicle, that their instruction originated in 
English, that the American instructors did not understand and could 
not correct what their native interpreters said to the pupils, the diffi- 
culty of turning out skilled drivers and mechanics can be appreciated. 
Then, too, although there was plain bad driving among all nationalities 
using the road, the natives supplied a fancy variety of their own: 
Moslem fatalism which accepted the crash that followed rounding 
a sharp curve on the wrong side of the road as the will of Allah ; or 
the instinct that met the discovery at the top of a steep hill that the 
brakes had ceased to function by leaping from the cab and letting the 
burdened truck careen to its destruction and the endangerment of all 
else on the road. There were also the handicaps imposed by widespread 
opium addiction. The reports are in agreement that after training the 
skill and competence of the native drivers for MTS were of high 
quality, a tribute to their intelligence and spirit as well as to their 
instruction, 18 

The drivers' schools enrolled by the end of July 1944 approximately 
16,566 natives and graduated 7,546." Yet maximum native driver em- 
ployment, reached in February 1944, was only 3,155. The relatively 

" (1) The first truck drivers' schools were established in 1942 by Folspen. (2) For docu- 
mentation on native driver problems see The MTS Native Drivers' Schools, by George B. 
Zeigler, 1 Sep 44, PGF 131; Memo, Maj Dishman for Col Shingler, 25 Aug 42, PGF 259; 
Memo, Brunson for Cooper, 16 Jan 43, sub: Employment of Qualified Truck Drivers, PGF 
131 ; Ltr, Lt Vincent P. Donahue to Maj Clarence D. McGowen, 16 Apr 43, sub: Employ- 
ment of Native Drivers by Russia, PGF 131 ; and Rad TN 3890, Shingler to Cooper, 22 Apr 43, 
PGF 131. (3) Connolly, in notes for the author, states British estimated native driver addiction 
at 75 percent; Shingler, at 65 percent. 

" The figure includes the diesel course at Andimeshk. 


small numbers of graduates and the small total of surviving drivers 
in service require interpretation. The figures reflect not only the win- 
nowing process of training but other factors in the general employment 
situation. Particularly during the early days of the training program 
it was widely felt by the Americans in charge that irresistible tempta- 
tion was offered the natives both during and after training to leave 
MTS. It was said, for example, that drivers working for the Soviet 
services were not forbidden when piloting deadheading vehicles to 
pick up passengers and cargo on the side and to pocket the resultant 
baksheesh. This made working for the Soviet agencies more attractive, 
inasmuch as the highest wage paid MTS drivers in the early months 
was 1,800 rials per month, as contrasted to reported scales paid by the 
Russians and UKCC ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 rials per month. 
The student wage at the MTS schools of 20 rials a month, plus shelter 
and a food ration not widely appreciated, tempted students to leave the 
schools and seek employment elsewhere. 

MTS raised the student wage to a range between 450 and 750 rials 
per month; but at a conference held in May 1943 by representatives of 
MTS, AIOC, UKCC, and the British and Soviet Armies, the Soviets 
declined to standardize wage scales. Agreement was reached, however, 
on more stringent inspections of cargoes to prevent the carrying of un- 
authorized passengers and loads, and the suggestion was advanced 
that a system of controlling the movement of drivers from one agency 
to another be instituted. These measures did not prevent the dissipation 
of MTS-trained native drivers into other Allied services. 18 

The course of the civilian-driver training program as well as the 
accumulation of experience by MTS personnel can be traced in the 
fluctuating rate of accidents per million truck miles. During April 1943 
the rate was computed at 24.9 with nine deaths, eight of them civilian. 
Overworking of drivers to attain targets; excessive speeding which 
reflected insufficient MP strength to patrol the roads, as well as inade- 
quate road signs at that early date ; heavy dust conditions in the south ; 
and the poor condition of the highway were contributing factors. 
During the period from July to November the number of civilian 
(native) drivers rose above seven hundred and the urgency of target 
requirements made it necessary to place most of them on the road 
straight from their training courses without enough supervised road 
experience. The accident rate rose in November to 103 per million 
truck miles. An intensive safety campaign was inaugurated in De- 
cember, accompanied by incentives such as certificates granted civilians 

"Memo, Capt Charles E. Bermart for Col Edward F. Brown, 14 May 43. MTS 319 
Hq PGC. 


for 10,000 miles of accident-free driving and War Department awards 
for soldiers. Trips to Cairo and the Holy Land rewarded the soldiers 
with the best records, and a white elephant emblem was presented each 
month to trucking companies with the worst records. The decline in 
accidents which followed reached its lowest rate, 6.7 per million truck 
miles, in October 1944. In general, soldier-driver accidents during 1944 
were caused by mechanical defects, speeding, and driving at improper 
intervals, while the highest percentage of native-driver accidents re- 
sulted from loss of control of the vehicle, driving at improper intervals, 
driving in the wrong lane, and speeding. 

The hard-pressed MP's on patrol were never free from security 
problems, of which the block system of operation posed that of check- 
ing cargoes at the points where one driver handed over to the next. It 
was usually impossible to make a thorough check until the end of the 
line was reached. By that time native bandits and pilferers had done 
their work, aided by sharp turns and steep inclines in the road which 
forced drivers to slow down, permitting the thieves to drop from over- 
hanging banks in the mountainous sections upon the slowly moving 
trucks, slit tarpaulins, and throw off items like tires, ammunition, sugar, 
flour, beans, and cloth. Sometimes pilferage was accomplished by native 
drivers who succeeded in making their way out of a serial to points off 
the road where they unloaded. At night cargo was sometimes hurled 
from the trucks to waiting confederates. Native huts in which to store 
the plunder sprang up along the route, but these were all eventually 
burned. In December 1943 continued losses of cargo and equipment 
led to the assignment of special investigators. Cargo was checked thor- 
oughly at each station before drivers were released, loads were sealed, 
and the system of waybilling at points of origin was improved ; but loss 
through pilferage was never eliminated. 

The dependence of traffic and security controls upon signal com- 
munications was early recognized. By December 1942 radio stations at 
Khorramshahr, Ahwaz, and Andimeshk were available for MTS uses 
and by April 1943 additional stations at Khurramabad, Hamadan, and 
Kazvin, the last named being a mobile set, were in service. In May 
1943 the MTS requested the Signal Service to plan, install, and operate 
a radio system for its own use so that communication would be available 
from one division point to another. Two nets were set up with a maxi- 
mum of one relay from any one point to another along the entire supply 
line. Small semifixed stations, installed at intervals between the larger 
fixed stations, served in emergencies for sudden calls for wreckers and 
ambulances and for security purposes. In addition, telephone service 
between Tehran and Kazvin was established. After the completion of 


the teletype network for the command in January and February 1944, 
the lessening need for radio warranted the removal of the stations at 
Khorramshahr, Ahwaz, and Andimeshk. Eventually radio service was 
entirely supplanted by teletype and telephone. 

Maintenance of vehicles was a never ceasing problem. At the be- 
ginning of operations, when parts and servicing apparatus were in 
drastically short supply, maintenance difficulties were aggravated by 
lack of buildings and lighting for the bulk of the work, which had to 
be done at night. Then, as the end of 1943 saw the virtual completion 
of the building program and as the shortage of parts gave way to better 
supply, the growth of the fleet, coupled with the increase — through the 
aging of vehicles in constant and hard use — of the rate of obsolescence, 
meant that the work of the indispensable mechanics and repair men 
was never done. In February 1944 the number of deadlined vehicles 
for which no parts were available was mounting despite every effort to 
improvise, repair, manufacture, and reuse parts. Deadlined trucks were 
systematically cannibalized to keep as many others in service as possible. 
At the same time truck companies in the north reported being handi- 
capped by lack of proper winter equipment such as skid chains of the 
right sizes, antifreeze, and windshield wipers and curtains. 18 By the 
end of July roughly 10 percent of the fleet was deadlined — over six 
hundred trucks ; but the reduction of the number to ninety-seven by the 
end of October illustrates the extremes of crisis to which maintenance 
was subjected by the uncertainties and vagaries of truck operations in 
the Corridor as well as the ability of the untiring maintenance troops to 
meet the crises. 

Of the trucks in the MTS fleet, certain types of Internationals, 
Studebakers, and Mack diesels, none of them specifically designed for 
the peculiar conditions of Corridor operation, bore the chief burden 
of the load. It was reported that, all factors considered, the Studebaker 
6x4 tractor with 7-ton trailer and the 2 '/2-ton cargo trucks gave good 
service. 20 It was stated that these vehicles could cover 50,000 miles 
before repair became uneconomical. Generally, the basic chassis de- 
veloped only a few serious faults: the cabs, fenders, hoods, dust skirts, 
and other sheet metal parts failed rapidly, and other failures occurred 
on hood side panels, hood tops, transmission cover plates, radiator cores, 
storage battery supports, fan belts, and distributor caps. Studebaker 
1-ton trailer mortality was high, largely as a result of abuse when 

" Initial Hist Rpt, 3923d QM Truck Co, Hamadan, 15 Feb 44. PGF 208-M. 
30 Ltr, Myott to Ward, 23 Oct 43, sub: Suitability of Trucks in Operation. Cited p. 79 of 
History cited n. 2(5). 


operated empty. Tarpaulins required frequent repair. The Mack diesel 
1 0-ton 6x4 cargo trucks were considered well adapted to MTS needs. 
They were good for 100,000 miles before repairs became uneconomical. 
Parts consumption was low and failures infrequent, but their bodies 
were too small and were structurally weak. Mack weaknesses were in 
the radiator, cowl, starter switches, series parallel switches, flexible fuel 
lines, fuses, and air cleaners. Most diesel road failures were caused by 
clogged fuel lines. On the basis of experience in MTS, it was felt that 
the ideal truck would have been a 6 x 4 tractor-trailer diesel with air 
brakes and a 150-horsepower engine, ten forward speeds, a maximum 
speed of forty-five miles per hour, power to carry its net load of fifteen 
tons up 15-percent grades, and stamina enough to operate 100,000 
miles over mountainous roads. The trailer would have had a dual axle 
with air brakes and a van type of body 28 feet long, 7 feet high, and 8 
feet wide. But there was no time, in setting up the MTS, to design and 
produce the perfect truck for the job. It was a supplementary service 
with a limited life to live and it made the best of available equipment. 
It was not only the trucks that took a beating on the highways of 
Iran. Morbidity studies of the Army personnel of MTS reveal one 
ailment peculiar to them. Until the entire route was hard surfaced, 
driving was an ordeal regardless of the weather. Mile after mile of 
washboard roads took toll of men as well as vehicles. As an anonymous 
military scribe put it, vibration "shook the trucks to pieces . . . and 
pounded the men's kidneys to jelly." 21 A medical survey in late 1944 
of low-back injuries throughout the command during the previous 
twenty months laid special emphasis on the extent of such complaints 
among the truck drivers. It was found that of the 466 cases in the com- 
mand requiring hospitalization one third of the whole were truck 
drivers who constituted only one tenth of the strength of the command. 
Rough roads, hard, uncomfortable seats, lack of drivers' belts as sup- 
ports (these were not included in the Tables of Equipment of truck 
companies sent into the field) , long hours of driving without sufficient 
rest, army cots which sagged, failure of drivers to seek proper massage 
and heat for tired back muscles, neglect in reporting for medical care 
until symptoms were severe, and vehicle accidents were listed as the 
causes. In other respects, the health of the men did not differ from the 
average in the command. 22 

JI History, 3951st QM Truck Co. PGF 187-N. 

" Rpt, Study of Low-Back Injury Cases Admitted to Hospitals, PGC, by Maj Thomas S. 
Cotton, Nov 44. Cited p. 1 05 of History cited n. 2(5). 


The Score 

According to plan, as soon as the ISR demonstrated its ability to 
serve adequately as the sole agency for inland clearance of Russian- 
aid cargoes, the MTS would be dispensed with. Washington's decision 
in November 1944 to close out MTS promptly served notice that, in 
Washington's view, regardless of the remaining course of the war, the 
railway would be adequate for all demands to come. MTS ceased 
operations on 30 November 1944. 

Comparison of the tonnage accomplishments of the railway and 
MTS will show clearly why road transport was the first to go and 
why it went when it did. (Table^5\and\U^ Appendix A) Through 

1943 MTS haulage of Russian-aia cargoes steadily mounted. In 
May the condition of the highway was such that it was possible to 
begin loading both at the Russian Dump at Khorramshahr and at 
dockside. Rail-to-truck loadings continued as a regular procedure at 
Andimeshk until August, after which time loadings there were resorted 
to only when there was a shortage of truckable cargo at Khorramshahr. 
How desperately the organization worked to meet the targets set for 
it at Tehran has been shown by references already made to over- 
worked and inexperienced men being pressed into service as drivers. 
The July delivery of 17,068 long tons of Russian-aid cargo exceeded 
by 14 percent the target for that month, the highest set up to that time. 
Month after month the target continued to be met or exceeded. It was 
not until January 1944, in a month when truckable cargo at the port 
proved less than expected by the target makers and when driving 
through swirling clouds of snow in the treacherous twistings of the 
mountain highway slowed progress, that, for the first time, MTS failed 
to reach its target. January's score of 32,385 long tons of Russian-aid 
cargo fell under expectations by 5 percent. In February the target was 
slashed drastically and MTS exceeded it by 4 percent. With an inter- 
lude of high demand for movement in March, cargoes again fell steeply 
in April and May to rise in July to the peak for Soviet deliveries. That 
was the feverish month when the whole command, being challenged 
by maximum pressures of tonnages, not only rose to them but exceeded 
them all along the line. After July MTS' share of tonnage was reduced, 
first gradually, then precipitately, while the railway was pressed to 
achieve its peak Russian-aid haulage in September. In that month, 
while the trucks were hauling 8,187 tons for delivery to the USSR, 
the railway carried 170,100. 

When MTS shut up shop and added up its performance, the total 
of all cargoes carried came to 618,946 long tons. Two thirds of this, 


or 408,460 long tons, were carried for the Russians. The total, while 
small relative to command totals, was no drop in the bucket. To accom- 
modate what the men of MTS and their native co-workers delivered 
to Soviet receiving points would have required a line of standard U.S. 
Army 2j/2-ton 6x6 cargo trucks standing bumper to bumper all the 
way from Baltimore to Chicago. 

As was the case with nearly everything the American Army under- 
took to do in the Persian Corridor, the establishment of a truck service 
under the conditions met by MTS was without exact precedent or 
parallel. There is therefore nothing by which to measure MTS achieve- 
ment. Even UKCC, being an agency of government endowed with the 
privileges and characteristics of a private corporation (including those 
of charging for certain services) is not strictly comparable to MTS. 
Moreover, since UKCC operated trucking services over many routes 
in Iran and Iraq from late 1941 until long after MTS' dissolution, and 
since available performance figures do not break down UKCC's totals 
into time periods or by routes served, there is no common denominator. 23 

The record of MTS must stand, then, on its own, as a supplemen- 
tary part of the total Anglo-American program, which in its brief span 
of activity shouldered something like one tenth of the total American 
share of Russian-aid deliveries. If the progress of the war and operating 
conditions in the Persian Corridor had only proceeded in accordance 
with sound and logical business principles, it could be concluded that 
the effort, the expense of spirit, treasure, and skill that went into the 
organization and operation of MTS were not, bookkeeping-wise, com- 
mensurate with the proportionate results attained. But a realistic 
appraisal must conclude that, in spite of its slow start — conditioned 
by the state of the highway and by the priority which assigned to the 
railway and ports the paramount considerations of time, manpower, 
and equipment — MTS was on hand to deliver the goods at a time 
when, if there had been no American trucks, cargoes would have 

"Under date of 27 May 1945, UKCC informed Headquarters, PGC, that, while UKCC 
"deprecate comparison between the achievement figures of the different Allied agencies carry- 
ing goods in Aid to Russia, the ton/kilometres operated by the United Kingdom Commercial 
Corporation from the commencement to September 30th 1944 amounted to a total of 
795,138,536." AG 095 UKCC, Hq PGC. Reduced to ton-kilometers, MTS' Russian-aid haul- 
age totaled 418,058,810 for its shorter single route and shorter neriod of operation. If the 
estimate of tonnages carried by British motor agencies given in | Table 4| i s taken as consisting 
chiefly of UKCC performance, it would appear that UKCC ana jviiS hauled very nearly 
the same total tonnages in Russian-aid cargoes over their own routes; but it must be borne 
in mind that the UKCC figure may, on the one hand, include some tonnages credited also 
to MTS because of the close association of the services early in 1943, and may, on the other 
hand, not include some haulage by UKCC over Iraqi routes for which information is not 
available. The slight difference between metric tons (UKCC) and long tons (MTS) must 
also be considered. 


accumulated unmanageably at the ports. As a reserve supply line in 
case of sabotage on the railway it was indispensable. Its effort must 
be judged not by its cost in men and equipment, not by its relative 
contribution to the total logistic achievement, but by the fact that 
MTS manned the breach when no other means were available to meet 
a pressing urgency. 


The Railway 

The Anglo-Soviet occupation of Iran in 1941 would have been less 
essential to Allied war purposes had the Iranian State Railway not 
existed. For unwittingly Reza Shah Pahlevi, who opened the $140,- 
000,000 line on 26 August 1939 after more than seven years of con- 
struction, had forged in the ISR a powerful weapon against the very 
Germans whose accepted friendship hastened the wartime occupation 
and his abdication. As a ready-made link between Western Hemisphere 
sources of supply and the Soviet battle lines, the railway hauled three 
out of every five tons of supplies delivered through the Corridor to 
Soviet receiving points by combined British and American effort. 
Virtually all of those three tons were delivered to the Russians during 
the period of American operation. The figures are 5,149,376 long tons, 
2,989,079 long tons, and 2,737,677 long tons. 1 

The railway operation was impressive ; but the totals do not make 
real its sheer mass of steel, manpower, and planning. Other figures 
indicate the extraordinary rate of increase. Before the Anglo-Soviet 
occupation the railway could haul 200 tons a day. During the period 
of all-British operation for which figures are available the daily average 
haul of Russian-aid freight was 661 long tons. The daily average haul 
in the peak month of British operation (September 1942) was 790 
long tons of Russian-aid cargoes. In the period of interim Anglo- 
American operation (January through March 1943) the daily average 
of Russian-aid cargo hauled climbed to 921 long tons. The daily aver- 
age for the whole period of American operation (April 1943 through 
May 1945) was 3,397 long tons of Russian-aid freight. Nor was this 
the full measure of the capacity to which the ISR was brought. In 
the last five months of British operation, August through December 
1942, the daily average of all freight hauled was approximately 1,530 
long tons, a notable improvement over the capacity inherited by the 
British in 1941. For the whole period of American operation this figure 

1 (1) Tablea4lancf~5| audi Chart 7|for all tonnages unless otherwise noted, (2) Railway 
Gazette (LondeUrT 74 TT*)41 ) t TS3* ( ' ft fl m 41) and The Middle East, 1948 (London: Europa 
Publications, Ltd., 1948), p, 132, for costs. Other sources estimate costs as high as $200,000,000. 


rose to 5,336, an average which reflects not only the limited accom- 
plishments at the beginning, but also the peak performance of 1944. 
The daily average for that year was 6,489 long tons, and for July, 
the top month of 1944, 7,520. 2 

A comparable increase in capacity, achieved in peacetime by a 
well-equipped modern railway under the blessings of a management 
beholden to none but its own judgment, would be hard to find in the 
annals of railroading. Yet the performance wrung from the ISR be- 
tween 1941 and 1945 was marked up on the record in the face of the 
usual Persian Corridor headaches: a kitchenful of cooks stirring the 
broth to the loud accompaniment of arguments on precedence, proper 
handling of the ladle, the ingredients, and determination of the appro- 
priate rental owed to the owner of the pot and of the cook or cooks 
liable for its payment. 

For this reason the tangle of agreements and arrangements, not to 
speak of tensions, that existed among the authorities is as important 
a part of the railway story as the record of day-to-day operations. 
Neither aspect of the story sufficiently explains the secret of the prodi- 
gies of performance that, among them, the Americans, the British, the 
Iranians, and the Russians extracted from the ISR. Certainly the 
prodigal expenditure of American material resources in expansion of 
rolling stock and improvement of maintenance of way, operating facili- 
ties, and methods greased the wheels; while on the other side multiple 
authority and differing national aims and temperaments operated as a 
brake. From the moment of the Anglo-Soviet occupation the ISR was 
destined to carry the main burden of Russian-aid traffic. When, after 
a year of British operation, the Combined Chiefs turned the job over 
to the United States Army and coolly raised the target to 6,000 long 
tons daily for all cargoes, the grim fact was that, from then on, the 
ISR would have to live up to expectations, would have to carry loads 
undreamed of. It is perhaps because of this necessity that all other 
factors appear as secondary explanations of the ultimate feat. The 
necessity itself provided the key to the result. The ability of the railway 
to carry so much of the burden of Russian-aid tonnage was essential to 
the success of the supply program. The railway had to succeed. 

And it did, but not without dust and heat: the dust of minutes 
and memoranda; the heat of the day's work on the line and in the 
yards. The peculiar nature of the railway operation, involving as it 
did complicated adjustments at the diplomatic as well as the military 

' British experts, after more than a year's experience with the ISR, believed that a theo- 
retical maximum daily capacity of 5,200 long tons was actually as remote as infinity. Memo 
Gen Yount for author, 24 Dec 48. 


level, overshadowed all merely operational problems. These adjust- 
ments, whether they concerned military command, or whether they in- 
volved national pride or prerogatives, in essence were adjustments of 

One should not give a man a job to do without clothing him with 
the requisite power and discretion to do it. Normally there is no sepa- 
ration between authority and responsibility. But the four-power part- 
nership in the Corridor posed abnormal conditions which affected the 
railway task no less than other parts of the supply program. In Sep- 
tember 1942 the Combined Chiefs, as told in Chapter X, gave to the 
Americans responsibility for transport operations while leaving un- 
disturbed the primary British authority over security and movements. 
In the interest of efficient operation it became necessary for the com- 
manders in the field to effect, by delegation of authority and other 
adjustments, as close an identity of authority and responsibility as the 
abnormal Corridor situation permitted. How this was done for the 
transport task as a whole (trucks, ports, railway) was told in Chapter 
XI. The effort to harness authority and responsibility into one team 
is a main thread in the story of the railway. 

Authority and Responsibility 

The basic charter under which all wartime activity on the ISR was 
carried on was the Tri-Partite Treaty; but as a guide to railway matters 
its grants of authority to the British and Soviet Armies were general. 
It did not specify how their control of Iranian communications would 
apply to the specific business of running the railway. Moreover, as the 
treaty was not signed until January 1942 and as the railway problem 
pressed for action if not for solution from the moment of occupation 
the previous August, there was no time for dispassionate consideration 
of ways and means. The British and Soviets proceeded, under the pre- 
liminary terms accepted by Iran in September 1941, to exercise control 
of communications within their respective zones. It cannot be said 
that this was a deliberately chosen policy, although the separate as- 
sumption of operating and supervisory responsibility for a railway thus 
arbitrarily divided into two segments at Tehran established a precedent 
which had the full force of chosen policy, and which, as time went on, 
proved the fixed and never altered basic operating plan for the railroad. 
In the remaining months of 1941 this basic decision-which-was-not- 
decided was taken, as it were, by default. 

The alternatives, as they appeared from time to time in the endless 
discussions among the Corridor partners, were two: operation of the 


line as a whole from Gulf to Caspian by a single responsible authority 
with power to take decisions; or a division of the line at Tehran with 
co-ordination to be provided by a joint operating commission repre- 
senting Iran, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. The first, the logical 
solution, failed of adoption whenever it was proposed because it was 
incompatible with the basic Corridor situation — a partnership of 
expediency without unified local command. The second was a com- 
promise whose experimental execution dwindled into early oblivion. 

From the beginning the United States was drawn into both alterna- 
tives as well as the de facto Anglo-Soviet arrangement. Churchill's 
appeal a few days after the occupation for American locomotives, 
rolling stock, and technical advice bulked large in the War Depart- 
ment's decision to establish the Iranian Mission, the selection as its 
first chief of General Wheeler, a railroad expert, his choice as civilian 
contractor of Foley Brothers, Inc., an engineering firm experienced in 
railroad construction and, above all, the designation of the ISR as an 
approved lend-lease project months before the designation of Iran as 
a nation eligible for lend-lease aid. When in September 1941 the lend- 
lease authorities were unable to find a suitable top railroad man to 
advise Harry Hopkins on the equipment needed to meet the Churchill- 
Beaverbrook requests, the matter of strengthening the ISR was handed 
over to the War Department and by it referred to General Wheeler and 
his new Iranian Mission. The commissioning of John A. Gillies, General 
Manager of the Santa Fe Railway, as a lieutenant colonel and his 
dispatch to Iran in October to investigate and report followed. 3 

The United States thus assumed from the beginning responsibilities 
in the railway task without receiving authority for their execution. It 
undertook to supply equipment and technical advice to be used at the 
discretion of the Anglo-Soviet Armies whose authority was not only 
split — each in its zone of Iran — but was in turn derived from the 
Iranian Government as owner of the ISR. It was some time before the 
ambiguities of the situation resolved themselves into a series of under- 
standings, some definite, some no more definite than an absence of 
objection by one party to the actions of another. In September 1941 the 
Soviet Ambassador at Tehran proposed that each occupying power 
operate the rail lines within its respective zone of occupation. There was 
no formal agreement to that effect, but separate operations proceeded 
as if there were. The British commissioned Sir Godfrey Rhodes, Gen- 
eral Manager of the Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbors, a 
brigadier and flew him early in October to Tehran to become director 

* (1) Memo, Hopkins for Steuinius, 19 Sep 41, transmitting Msg, Churchill to Hopkins; 
(2) Ltr, Wheeler to Stettinius, 28 Oct 41. WPD 4596 to -15 Iran (Persia) HRS DRB AGO. 


of transportation; but when the Russians established a Soviet railway 
headquarters at Tehran it was reported to Washington that the British 
in Iran viewed the act with some dismay and feared that divided 
operating control would make for reduced railway capacity and would 
cause complications with the Iranian railway administration. 4 

Before the end of 1941 both alternatives to divided operating 
control appeared on the scene. The suggestion was made for a joint 
operating commission ; and, early in November, Lord Beaverbrook ex- 
pressed the hope that the United States would operate the ISR. The 
reactions to the latter differed. General Wheeler reported that informal 
conversations with the Iranian Prime Minister, the Iranian Foreign 
Minister, and the Soviet Ambassador at Tehran indicated a favorable 
attitude, but that the British transportation directorate in Iran was 
opposed. On the other hand, the British War Office in London, in a 
message in January 1942 requesting India's views, noted that operation 
of the railroad by Americans as allies was a different proposition from 
operation by Americans as nonbelligerents, the American status at the 
time of the Beaverbrook proposal. London requested Indian head- 
quarters to consider the matter from the point of view of ( 1 ) the use 
that could be made elsewhere of British personnel released by American 
operation, and (2) the psychological effect on the British forces in Iran 
who were developing the railway of having it handed over to Ameri- 
cans. When India referred the proposal to Baghdad for an opinion, the 
response was favorable to American operation of the ISR. Baghdad 
said, "Psychological effect on our transportation personnel should not 
be taken into account. Operation Persian Railway by Americans ex- 
tremely desirable every point of view. We should discard all stipulations 
and give Americans complete control." 5 

This opinion might have carried more weight in British councils 
had it been advanced as a matter of general principle ; but the Baghdad 
message, by asserting that British transportation personnel in Iran 
replaced by Americans would be "invaluable for employment in Iraq," 
showed that its advocacy of American operation was colored by the 
pressing need of the British forces in Iraq for increased strength, and 
was not necessarily a considered opinion as to the best way of solving 
the railway problem in Iran. 

At Washington caution marked discussions between the State and 
War Departments, and pessimism a memorandum by War Plans Divi- 

'Rad, Wheeler to Moore, 15 Jan 42. WPD 4596 to -15 Iran (Persia) HRS DRB AGO. 

* (1) Rad, Wheeler to Moore, 21 Dec 41 ; (2) Rad, War Office, London, to GHQ, India, 
and British Army Stf, Washington, 3 Jan 42. WPD 4596 to -15 Iran (Persia) HRS DRB AGO. 
(3) Rad Q/669, Gen Iraq [GOC British forces in Iraq] to ARMINDIA, 8 Jan 42. Shipping 
Data, SL X-l 1,737. 


sion which, while accurately assessing present difficulties, can hardly 
be blamed for not achieving equal accuracy regarding the future. 
Noting that the "Southern area served by the railroad is unhealthful," 
the paper went on to state : 

U.S. civilian or military personnel, not acclimated, would not be efficient 
or effective. . . . Bad living conditions, shortage of water, unsatisfactory legal 
status and difficult working conditions make it questionable if competent U.S. 
Civilian railroad technicians could be retained. . . . Should U.S. Railroad units 
operate Trans-Iranian Railroad, the next logical step would be for U.S. Quarter- 
master units to operate the docks and U.S. Quartermaster truck companies to 
do the trucking. This could only be justified if it were contemplated that U.S. 
combat troops were later going to operate in this area. Since this is not the current 
plan, U.S. Army service troops should not be provided for this duty. 6 

Both American chiefs of missions in the Middle East saw the logic 
behind the proposed American operation. General Maxwell told his 
staff at Cairo that, to obtain maximum efficiency uncomplicated by 
rivalries over controls, the ultimate objective was American operation. 
General Wheeler, after conference at New Delhi with the Acting 
Commander-in-Chief, India, and his staff, reported that he shared 
British apprehension over divided (Anglo-Soviet) control of the ISR. 
He urged American operation by an American staff, or, as an alterna- 
tive, a variant of the proposal for a joint supervisory committee which 
would entrust supervision to a small American headquarters staff, an 
arrangement which would require a high degree of co-operation by 
the British, Soviet, and Iranian authorities. Along the lines expressed 
by the WPD memorandum, Wheeler stated that the United States 
should come in only if the ISR were to be used for delivery of large 
quantities of supplies for the USSR, or for maintaining large British 
or American forces in northern Iran against Axis invasion. If these 
were not to be the proposed uses of the railroad, then he recommended 
that the British and Russians should work out their problems alone. 
Wheeler advised caution in making big plans because he had been told 
by the Soviet Ambassador that Moscow demanded only 2,000 motor 
trucks per month and 100 aircraft to be delivered by the Persian Gulf 
route, and this did not place too heavy a strain upon the railroad's 
capacities. Nevertheless, he concluded, because it might be necessary 
for British and American troops to operate in northern Iran and the 
Caucasus against Axis forces, some state of readiness of the railroad 
should be provided. He therefore recommended that if it should be 

' (1) Memo of conversations between State and War Depts [Jan 42], sub: Political Factors 
Involved in Provision of Trans Facilities in Iran; (2) Memo, Lt Col Clayton L. Bissell for 
Col Handy, WPD, 5 Jan 42, sub: Trans-Iranian Railroad; (3) See also Draft of Memo, Jan 42, 
prepared in WPD for submission as recommendation to CofS, unused. WPD 4596 to —15 Iran 
(Persia) HRS DRB AGO. 


considered politically expedient to attempt to harmonize all interests, 
the United States should offer to Britain and Russia to provide Ameri- 
can management with a small headquarters staff. 7 

Neither the Wheeler suggestion, designed to fit into the Corridor 
situation so long as no extraordinary demands were to be made of the 
railroad, nor the Beaverbrook suggestion, which would have required 
a radical alteration in the basic Corridor situation, attracted sufficient 
strength to come into effect. In both British and American camps, 
arguments pro and con canceled one another out. But early in 1942, 
acting by request of the Tri-Partite powers, the United States desig- 
nated Colonel Gillies to act as "mediator" on a joint board of repre- 
sentatives of Iran, Great Britain, and the USSR. Gillies served until 
his death in line of duty on 28 February 1942. No successor was 
appointed. 8 

Early in 1942 a detailed document was negotiated upon a foun- 
dation of Iranian proposals modified and extended by British and 
Soviet suggestions. Entitled "Regarding the Affairs of the Ministry of 
Ways and Communications," it was designed to establish a contractual 
relationship to govern British operation of the ISR. As the agreement 
was never approved by top authorities, the British proceeded under 
a simpler plan which they submitted to Iran but not to the USSR. 
Meanwhile the Russians had been going their separate way in their 
zone. 9 

Thus matters rocked along until mounting tonnages and global 
pressures produced the crisis of midsummer 1942, one of whose reso- 
lutions, as told in Chapter X, was the assignment of the operation of 
the British sector of the ISR to the U.S. Army. It is recorded that when 
all the preliminaries were over and Averell Harriman at Cairo told 
Prime Minister Churchill that the U.S. Army was ready to undertake 
the assignment, some British officers once again expressed alarm at 
putting control of an essential line of empire communications into 
foreign (i. e., American) hands; whereat Churchill dismissed the ob- 
jection with the words, "And in what better hands could it be?" 10 

' ( 1 ) Mm, Stf Mtg at Cairo, 1 7 Jan 42. Maxwell Papers. (2) Rad cited n. 4. 

"Memo, Col John E. Hull for ACofS, WPD, 17 Mar 42, sub: American Opn of Trans- 
Iranian Railroad. WPD 4596 to -15 Iran (Persia) HRS DRB AGO. 

" (1) Copy with atchd papers in 336.01 International Agreements, SL 9012. (2) Ltr, Col 
John B. Stetson, Jr., Fiscal Adviser to CG, PGSC, 19 Jul 43. Same file. 

"Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 627. This was while Churchill was en route home 
from conferences with Stalin at Moscow in which Harriman took part. Churchill records in 
his memoirs (The Hinge of Fate, p. 474) that on 11 August on the way to Moscow he and 
Harriman attended with "various high British and American railway authorities" a long 
conference in the garden of the British Legation at which "it was decided that the United 
States should take over the whole Trans-Persian railway from the Gulf to the Caspian." If 
matters reached that point at that time, the decision was soon reviewed and limited. It is a 
moot point how close the United States came, at various times, to being given that logical, but, 


American control, however, was at that time not contemplated, 
since the Combined Chiefs' directive studiously avoided any modifi- 
cation of British authority over movements and security. Operation 
and control were to be in different hands. American responsibilities 
had been enormously enlarged, but once again it was responsibility 
without authority, an anomaly from every point of view and one 
whose adverse effects upon operations called for the prompt attention 
and vigorous negotiation which General Connolly gave to the problem 
as soon as he arrived. If there had been in anybody's mind the thought 
that the new American command was to be integrated with the British, 
or subordinated to it, it soon become clear that the meshing of the two 
forces would be much subtler than that. Connolly wrote candidly in 
December 1942 to Somervell: 

... we are setting up our show on the Pershing pattern. This naturally does 
not, and cannot be expected to, arouse any great degree of enthusiasm on the 
part of our British cousins. They have been dominating the situation south of 
Tehran and competing with the Russians in Tehran. It is understandable that 
they want to keep a grip on all facilities and resources both for use during the war 
and for afterward. Up to date our arguments with them on labor, covered storage, 
supplies, etc., have been on a very friendly and cooperative basis. The idea is 
gradually percolating that this is a part of the U.S. Army — not part of the British 
Army. 11 

When, a few days after this letter was written, the first five thousand 
American service troops reached Khorramshahr, the relation between 
the American and British forces appeared to the Russians and Iranians 
to call for explanation. As is told hereafter in Chapter XX, they in- 
quired whether the Americans, coming to Iran at British invitation, 
were to be considered as a part of the British command, and whether, 
if they were not, their presence prejudiced Iranian sovereignty and the 
rights enjoyed by the signatories to the Tri-Partite Treaty. The pro- 
longed diplomatic exchange which followed provided the background 
against which negotiations to reconcile operational responsibility and 
authority were carried on. "The next big argument," General Connolly- 
wrote in the letter just quoted, "is going to be over control of the rail- 
road." Its culmination was the "Joint Agreement between Persia and 
Iraq Forces and the Persian Gulf Service Command for the Control 
of Movements in Persia," signed 7 April 1943. 12 

in view of the Soviet's exclusion of others from the northern zone, unlikely, solution to the 
railway problem. In the opinion of an American in close touch with Iranian affairs, the 
Russians would in time have accepted American operation of an undivided line, Gulf to 
Caspian, but were alienated from the necesary confidence by their distaste for General 
Connolly's firmness. This footnote to history, communicated to the author, is recorded not 
as fact but as opinion from a significant source. 

11 Ltr, Connolly to Somervell, 1 Dec 42. OCofTrans, Hist Br — Overseas Comd, Pentagon. 

12 See Ch. XI above, pp. 233-36 and n. 36. 


By this agreement, which gave the American command effective 
control over movements, the gap which separated responsibility and 
authority was considerably narrowed and operational problems pro- 
portionately simplified. In the course of the negotiations the old ques- 
tion of a unified rather than divided operation of the railway line again 
made its appearance when the American Ambassador at Moscow, Ad- 
miral William H. Standley, informed the Department of State that he 
possessed information that Iran wished the United States to take over 
not only the British sector but the Soviet sector as well. The information, 
while indicative of a trend in Iranian thinking and maneuvering, was, 
as General Connolly advised Washington, not accurate as to official 
Iranian policy. The question was settled, at least for the time being, 
by the decision of the Departments of State and War that, even should 
the offer to entrust to the U.S. Army operation of the ISR from Gulf 
to Caspian be forthcoming, it would be declined. 39 

The agreement on movements control made it possible for an inde- 
pendent American command to work, by means of delegated authority, 
with rather than under the British command. Since control of move- 
ments was essential to the carrying out of American operational re- 
sponsibility, the agreement with the British proved, as Connolly re- 
ported after seven months' trial, "extremely satisfactory." 14 Yet it was 
little more than a detailed working arrangement in the all-important 
field of allocations, priorities, and movements. Efforts were therefore 
made to supplement it with other agreements defining the status of 
the American command in the Corridor, and, more specifically, the 
degree to which British responsibilities regarding the ISR were as- 
sumed by the U.S. Army when it took over operation of the British 
sector of the line. Although the negotiations to these ends were incon- 
clusive they illustrate further some problems inherent in a situation 
which by its nature precluded either unified command or the exact 
definition of responsibilities. 

The Power of the Purse 

As the Combined Chiefs' directive said nothing about railway fi- 
nances, the power of the purse figured prominently in the effort of the 
American command to control effectively the operations it had under- 
taken. The basic and thorny question focused upon British obligations 

" (1) Rad 215, Standley to Dept State, 26 Feb 43. Case 7, OPD 617 Iran, Sp Coll, HRS 
DRB AGO. (2) Min, Mtg of Representatives of Depts State and War, 1 Mar 43. Same file. 
14 Rad AGWAR 2894, Connolly to Marshall for Spalding, info Harriman, 1 Nov 43. 384 
Conduct of War, SL 9016. 


to the ISR. By agreement with the Iranian Government, the British 
had guaranteed to it an annual net sum, or profit, equivalent to that 
earned by the ISR between 21 March 1940 and 20 March 1941. The 
net revenue to Iran was accordingly fixed at 103 million rials per an- 
num (equivalent to $3,218,750) . British Army freight was to receive a 
50-percent concession in rates to be agreed, and transit freight, which 
meant goods destined for the USSR, would receive a 20-percent con- 
cession for all over 500,000 tons monthly. Capital expenditures beyond 
normal expansion were to be borne by the Ally, British or Soviet, making 
the demand for them; and the Allies contracted not to interfere more 
than necessary with Iranian civilian needs. 18 

The guaranteed annual net profit was to be calculated after a 
balancing of receipts and expenditures, with war-caused expenditures 
to be excluded from the ISR's operating budget. The crux of the 
financing problem was freight charges. At the beginning of the plan 
the UKCC was to pay freight charges incurred for the USSR, the 
funds coming from the War Office, London, while the British Army 
drew upon War Office funds paid out by PAI Force in Baghdad for 
their own charges. After September 1943 the British Army paid all 
charges except those for Iranian civil goods and USSR internal move- 
ments. In April 1944 this method was dropped and the British resorted 
to cash advances on the tenth of each month to cover the difference 
between ISR civil earnings and the amount needed for current operat- 
ing expenses, such as wages. Very substantial payments, totaling 
$14,782,727 as of 1 June 1945, were made by the ISR for stores of 
British, U.S. lend-lease, and U.S. Army non-lend-lease origin. 16 

When the American command took over operations from the 
British in 1943, along with the rolling stock came a complex of book- 
keeping between the British Army and the Iranian railway directorate : 
cash advances, expenditures, book credits, and adjustments — all in- 
volved in the general financial arrangements under which British 
operations were conducted. Exchanges of views as to American 
financial responsibilities were promptly begun and continued until 
the lend-lease settlement with Great Britain in March 1946. Through- 
out, British pressure was doggedly exerted to prevail upon the United 
States to assume, as of 1 April 1943, "sole responsibility for making 

** (1) Documents cited n. 9. (2) Rpt on Financial Responsibility for the Iranian State Ry, 
18 Jun 45, forwarded under covering Ltr, Gen Booth to Gen Marshall, 21 Jun 45. OPD 617 
Iran. Sp Coll, HRS DRB AGO. 

" (1) Rad AG WAR 1515, Connolly to Marshall, Somervell, and Rear Adm Andrew F. 
Carter, 14 Jun 43. 120 Funds, Disbursements, Laws, Regulations, SL 8979. (2) Rpt cited 
n. 15(2). 


advances or meeting bills in the first instance" on the ISR." The British 
felt moreover that this liability should be supplemented by American 
agreement to pay the cost of all British as well as American internal 
traffic after 1 April in return for the British paying for their own and 
American traffic before that date. The United States would thus find 
itself saddled with liability for everybody's expenses plus the guarantee 
to Iran, and all this in addition to the ever mounting costs of maintain- 
ing and operating the American command in the Persian Corridor, 
which was already a heavy contribution toward the joint war effort 
in that area. 

But the cardinal consideration from the point of view of the Ameri- 
can command was not the cost involved in accepting the British 
proposal, for cost was not reckoned in the American effort to bring aid 
to Russia. Acceptance of the British financial liabilities toward the 
ISR would mean that American money would go directly into Ameri- 
can operations instead of being siphoned into them via lend-lease to 
Britain. It was felt in the American command that taking over the 
British financial responsibility would increase American operational 
efficiency and authority by reducing the number of voices to be con- 
sulted over policy. The power of the purse gave the British ultimate 
control over operational matters whose cost (in American dollars) they 
could approve or disapprove when it was chargeable to the British 
share in lend-lease. In short, the Americans reasoned, if the money were 
to be spent anyhow, it was simpler for it to pass directly from American 
hands to the ISR instead of from Washington to Tehran via London. 18 
The American command therefore proceeded for some time to nego- 
tiate with the British upon the basis of the Americans taking over the 
British working agreement with the ISR. This involved not only an 
American guarantee of a minimum annual sum to Iran, as proposed 
by General Connolly on 21 July 1943, but American assumption of all 
costs, including USSR transit freight, which exceeded ISR revenues. 
Tentative agreement was reached along these lines, to be effective 
on 1 August. But on 19 July the Americans informed Brigadier Rhodes 
that there would be a delay. As it turned out the delay proved 
permanent. 19 

The crux of the opposition which Washington soon expressed was 
the Combined Chiefs' directive (CCS 109/1). This provided only 

"-British Army Stf, Washington, to OPD, 22 Sep 43. Case 8, OPD 617 Iran, Sp Coll, HRS 

" Interv with Gen Connolly, Pentagon, 18 Aug 50. 

19 (1) Stetson to Rhodes, 19 Jul 43. 336.01 International Agreements, SL 9012. (2) For 
Connolly's proposal see Case 8, OPD 617 Iran, Sp Coll, HRS DRB AGO. 


that the U.S. Army should serve in the place of the British Army in 
certain undertakings in the Persian Corridor. It did not alter basic 
British responsibilities or mention finance. Since financial matters lay 
at the heart of control, General Marshall advised General Connolly 
that any alteration of the financial arrangements existing at the 
assumption of American operational responsibility would require the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff to reopen "the entire question of responsi- 
bility for and control of the transport routes." 20 General Connolly was 
therefore committed to continuing negotiations in the financial field 
within the prescribed limits of the status quo as of the date of CCS 
109/1, as modified by the working agreement over movements signed 
with the British in April 1943. And there were the other arrangements 
to be made to define American relations with the Corridor partners. 
Respecting these negotiations, opinion at Washington was divided as 
to whether they should proceed at the military level or the diplomatic 
level, and whether unilateral agreements or a general pact would be 
desirable. In time all talks merged with the negotiations over final 
settlement when the Americans, their mission over, returned the ISR 
to the British. 

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Sa'ed directed 
a stream of inquiries, expostulations, and expressions of indignation at 
United States Minister Dreyfus, who in due course transmitted some 
of them to General Connolly. In April 1943 Mr. Sa'ed wanted to know 
whether the new working agreement between the Americans and the 
British had been consented to by the Russians; in May he deplored 
the chaos resulting from ill-defined operational control of the ISR; 
in July he demanded a direct Iranian-American agreement; in August 
he complained that the American railway director, Colonel Yount, 
without negotiation had presented to the railway administration for 
signature an operating agreement; and he ventured to point out that 
no matter how eager the government of Iran was to co-operate in 
friendship with its Allies, the ISR was the property of Iran and nothing, 
no action, should take place save under "the stipulations of a general 
agreement to be signed by the Governments of Iran and the United 
States." 21 

Mr. Sa'ed was reassured : that the United States was merely sub- 

M Rad, Marshall to Connolly, 5 Aug 43. OPD 617 Iran, Sp Coll, HRS DRB AGO. A sug- 
gestion to cut the Gordian knot of authority by reviving, for the last time, the proposal for 
ail-American operation from Gulf to Caspian appeared at this time. Memo, Stetson for OPD, 
4 Aug 43. Same file. 

"Ltrs 410 and 1113, Mohamed Sa'ed to Dreyfus, 28 Apr, 15 Jun 43, 336.01 International 
Agreements, SL 9012; Ltrs 1548 and 2118, Sa'ed to Dreyfus, 11 Jul, 12 Aug 43, 092.2 Treaties 
and Agreements, SL 8978. The replies referred to, as well as texts of tentative agreements, 
will be found in these two files under the dates cited in the text. 


stituting for Great Britain in the matter of the railway, and that, as 
the British had informed the government of Iran, nothing had affected 
British obligations under the Tri-Partite Treaty; that, instead of chaos, 
General Connolly was able to report (21 June) improving tonnages 
for the USSR and for the Iranian civilian economy as well and har- 
monious relations between Colonel Yount and Hossain Nafisi, Director- 
General of the ISR, and to explain (23 August) that the administra- 
tive agreement referred to in one of the diplomatic communications 
was actually a bulletin on personnel procedure, adopted after long 
conferences, and in agreement, with Nafisi ; and finally, that Nafisi had 
been informed on 3 August that the working agreement with the 
British "will be subordinate to the final covenant between the U.S. 
Army and the ISR." 

The files abound in drafts and counterdrafts for such a covenant, 
and the summer of 1943 witnessed simultaneous discussions of three 
sorts: between the Americans and the British, on the military level, to 
determine financial obligations; between the Americans and the Iran- 
ians, on the political level, to discuss a bilateral railway agreement 
(perhaps as a part of a larger agreement as to American status in 
Iran ) ; and four-power discussions toward a railway agreement. 22 
While Connolly was thus attempting to be, like "Mr. Cerberus, three 
gentlemen at once," in Mrs. Malaprop's phrase, the War Department 
in August 1943 reached a conclusion and advised him as follows: 
First, the Anglo-Iranian arrangements were so complex the United 
States could not hope to do them justice if the British should withdraw 
altogether in the matter of the railway. Second, since the United 
States was not a party to the Tri-Partite Treaty, it was inappropriate 
for it to join in a four-power railway agreement. Third, Connolly 
should negotiate an operating contract with the ISR, obtaining there- 
for the concurrence of the governments of the United Kingdom, 
USSR, and Iran. Fourth, the British should continue, as in 1941-1942, 
to bear the ultimate financial responsibility. 23 

To some extent the War Department's policy decisions were help- 
ful, for they cleared the air with regard to what financial liabilities the 
United States would assume. Thenceforth, General Connolly and his 
fiscal adviser, Col. John B. Stetson, Jr., could be as adamant in their 
assertion that the U.S. Army was agent only, and not financially liable, 
as were the British in insisting that as of 1 April 1943 a new deal in 
finances ought to take place. General Connolly may have been reluc- 

M Rad 1001, Dreyfus to Dept State, 16 Oct 43. Case 8, OPD 617 Iran, Sp Coll, HRS 

" Memo, 2 7 Aug 43, and atchd papers. OPD 1 2 3 ( 5 Aug 43 ) . 


tant to proceed with the delicate palavers prerequisite to an operating 
contract signed with the ISR and blessed by Britain and the USSR, 
for, as already noted, he was satisfied with the working agreement with 
PAI Force. Meanwhile, it appears that the British desired settlement 
of railway matters at the political level, and Minister Dreyfus con- 
curred. 24 It must be supposed that the British took this position, not 
because they were dissatisfied with the successful movements agree- 
ment which had been worked out at the military level, but because 
of the financial stand now being taken by the Americans. The view of 
the Department of State was therefore communicated by Dreyfus to 
Stetson at American military headquarters, through quotation of a 
telegram from the Acting Secretary of State to Dreyfus, as follows: 

If it is necessary to conclude an agreement on a political level covering the 
operation of the trans- Iranian Railway, you are authorized to initiate and negotiate 
such an agreement satisfactory to the American military authorities. While War 
Department orally concurs in this, it nevertheless has expressed a preference for 
an agreement by the military authorities concerned. 

To this Stetson replied in part as follows: 

Understand, of course, that it was the view of PGSC to negotiate this agreement 
on the military level and not on the political level. The War Department, however, 
refused to PGSC authority to make any financial commitments binding the United 
States with respect the railroad. 

In view of this decision, I informed the British that the entire financial respon- 
sibility was theirs, and that we as operators of the railroad are acting for them 
in the position of agent. They have elected, therefore, to make the agreement with 
respect to the railroad on the diplomatic level. 25 

Actually the situation was not essentially changed. The British 
maintained their financial convictions, but in March 1944 the War 
Department indicated that it would be willing to credit the cost of 
U.S. Army freight by entering it on the books as reverse lend-lease, 
provided the British paid it in the first instance. 26 

But when on 31 May 1945 representatives of the British and 
American Armies sat down together to discuss the return of the ISR 
to the British, it was found not only that the British still expected the 
Americans to pay for everything after 1 April 1943 but that the British 
proposed stopping their interim payments to the ISR after 30 June 
1945 and that they would regard any subsequent breakdown as a joint 
Allied responsibility. 27 

" Rad cited n. 22. 

* (1) Ltr, Dreyfus to Col Stetson, 2 Nov 43. 092.2 Treaties and Agreements, SL 8978. 
(2) Ltr, Col Stetson to Richard Ford, Charge d'Aff aires, American Legation, Tehran, 6 Nov 
43. Same file. 

" Memo, John J. McCloy, Budget Div, OCofS, prepared for OPD, 14 Mar 44. Case 10, 
OPD 617 Iran, Sp Coll, HRS DRB AGO. 

"Rpt cited n. 15(2). 


Up to 1 July 1945 the cash advanced by the British to the ISR 
was more than twenty million dollars less than the ISR claimed the 
British owed for payment of USSR transit freight charges. If the ISR 
would agree to a reduction of the rates, as proposed but never settied, 
to three tenths of a rial per ton kilometer, then the British had overpaid 
by more than three and one half million dollars. As such overpayment 
did not cover costs of delivered stores and all operating expenses, there 
was a considerable gap to be made up to reach the guarantee of one 
hundred and three million rials net annual income. These matters 
were adjusted on paper by discovering and agreeing upon a freight 
rate that would even matters up pretty much as they were. So much 
for the British obligation to the ISR. After 1 July 1945 the British 
proposed that the United States, the USSR, and themselves pay the 
ISR separately for bills incurred; but the Americans pointed out that 
unless the British gave the ISR sufficient funds to settle its accounts 
with the United States for heavy purchases of supplies, stores, and 
equipment, against which account the United States had withheld 
payments to the ISR for command internal freight charges, then the 
United States, while paying off the ISR account, might not be paid in 
return. 28 

In view of the difficulties which beset a financial settlement limited 
to the railway, the American command felt that the total effort of the 
United States Army in the Persian Corridor was relevant. Such a factor 
as American improvement and maintenance of highways over and 
above its obligations under the Combined Chiefs of Staff directive 
should offset British claims for compensation for freight charges on 
the railway. 29 Since the question appeared incapable of solution in 
the field, it passed to higher authority and was ultimately swallowed 
up in the over-all lend-lease settlement between the British and Ameri- 
can Governments. In this final settlement a notation appears that a 
British claim for compensation from the United States for twenty-five 
million dollars for USSR transit freight carried over the ISR was 
disallowed by the United States. 80 

There is a bright side to the tedious record of all these negotiations 
in which the Americans, for the sake of efficient operations, strove to 
attain as close an identity between responsibility and authority as the 
Corridor situation permitted. If that situation could have been altered 

» J bid. 

** (1) Intervs with Col Stetson, Tehran, 3-4 Aug 45. (2) Correspondence by Col Stetson 
in 323.361 and 550.3, SL 9008. 

30 The New York Times, March 28, 1946. This "final" settlement was followed by a supple- 
mentary settlement covering disposition of, and method of payment for, all wartime installations 
in the Middle East, signed at Washington on 12 July 1948. The New York Times, July 13, 1948. 


by negotiation to provide unified operation of the ISR from Gulf to 
Caspian or even to invest the American command with primary au- 
thority as well as responsibility, the operational problem would have 
been noticeably eased and the results achieved even more striking than 
those summarized at the beginning of this chapter. But it is a com- 
mentary upon Anglo-American temperaments that, during the years 
when American and British officialdom strove in paper after paper 
and talk after talk to determine who could properly do what and who 
should pay for what, their colleagues were running the trains, doing 
the job, delivering the goods to the Russians. Nevertheless, as that part 
of the story now unfolds, the murmur of innumerable conferences and 
the rustle of carbon copies will still be heard above the clang of freight 
cars in the assembly yards and the deep-throated whistle of the diesels 
echoing in the high mountains of Iran. 

The Americans Take Over 

The railway itself is a notable engineering accomplishment. 81 Its 
single-track, standard-gauge main line extends 865 miles from the 
southern terminus of Bandar Shahpur, a tidewater port at the northern 
end of the Persia n Gulf, to Bandar Shah on the southeastern shore of 
the Caspian Sea. \^See Map 4.)| Within its span many phases of engi- 
neering and railroad construction are combined in somewhat unusual 

Soon after completion of the main line, construction began on two 
branches. In 1939 the railway extended a branch northwest from 
Tehran toward Tabriz; in 1941 this line had passed Zenjan and was 
carried on to Mianeh in 1942, a total distance of 272 miles. Some work 
was done west of Mianeh, but the plans based on the former Shah's 
insistence upon driving the line from there straight through, rather 
than around large hill masses, proved too costly and the project with- 
ered. The other branch, running eastward from Garmsar through Sam- 
nan to Shahrud for a distance of 196 miles, was placed in service in 
1940. In 1942 the British, purely as a military measure, constructed two 
more branches. One 77 miles in length, extended from Ahwaz to Khor- 
ramshahr; the other was a 27-mile extension from this line to Chey- 
bassi, lighterage port up-river from Tanuma and opposite Margil, in 
the port area of Basra. 

81 The description of the railway derives from ( 1 ) HOTI, Pt. V, History of the 3d Military 
Railway Service, by 1st Lt Francis J. Lewis (cited hereafter as HOTI-V), pp. 3-5, PGF; and 
(2) MA Rpt 222 from Tehran, 14 Jan 44, MID 617 Iran, 14 Jan 44 (29 Dec 41). 


From Bandar Shahpur the line runs northward for 69 miles, across 
marshland and the Khuzistan Desert, to Ahwaz, crossing a 3,512-foot 
bridge over the Karun River at that point. Following the course of the 
Ab-i-Diz River, the railroad continues northwest for 87 miles across 
the desert to Andimeshk in the Zagros foothills, where it embarks on 
the first of two of the most dramatic railroad sections in the world. 

The Zagros Mountains are forbiddingly devoid of vegetation, their 
lonely, rocky fagades utterly bleak, the ravines between the profusion 
of their peaks sheer and desolate. North of Andimeshk as far as Dorud, 
130 miles distant, the railroad hugs the course of the Ab-i-Diz, crossing 
it many times in that section, high in the mountains. The railroad 
plunges through tunnel after tunnel — 135 of them in one stretch of 
165 miles — and permits glimpses of breathtaking sweep as it emerges 
time after time to skirt the brinks of deep and precipitous canyons. 
The first American soldiers traveling north to their station in Tehran, 
in January 1943, found no comfort in the fact that the locomotives 
hauling them over the single-track railroad were without headlights 
in this succession of tunnels. There are many bridges and there are 
miles of retaining walls of massive design and galleried sheds to protect 
the track from snow and landslides. North of Dorud the line ascends 
to an altitude of 7,272 feet and, emerging upon a high plateau, reaches 
Sultanabad, 91 miles away, and Qum, 87 miles beyond Sultanabad. 
From there it is 111 miles to the capital city, Tehran. 

From Tehran, the main line turns abruptly southeast for 7 1 miles 
to Garmsar, skirting the high wall of the Elburz Mountains. At Garm- 
sar, the line veers northeast again, entering a lofty pass in the Elburz 
and climbing to a height of 6,927 feet. In this 65-mile section the rail- 
road performs veritable gymnastics, with spiraled switchbacks, tunnels 
which burrow through the rock in sweeping curves, and, at one point, 
a corkscrew climb in which four elevations of track lift the railway 
with a grade of one in 36. One hundred and fifty-three miles from the 
summit in the Elburz lies Bandar Shah, which is 85 feet below sea level. 

Beginning at Tehran, the Soviet sector of the ISR comprised 757 
miles of line running east from the capital to Bandar Shah and Shah- 
rud, and west to Mianeh. The British sector extended for 680 miles 
of main and branch line southward from Tehran, through the moun- 
tains and across the desert to the Gulf. Over this route the first Ameri- 
can railroad troops rode to Tehran on a train drawn by a little prewar 
Ferrostaal locomotive with copper firebox and brightly trimmed 
wheels. Their journey was enlivened when, in the wilds of the Zagros 
Mountains, they had to get out and push the train up the more difficult 
grades. That ludicrous first experience was to fade into the incredible 


past as the great diesels from beyond the Atlantic took over the rails 
in Iran and the trains lengthened and the tonnages grew. 

One year before, while the newly arrived British were working to 
increase the prewar capacity of the ISR from its 200-ton daily level, 
General Wheeler had estimated that, using existing inadequate equip- 
ment, American operation might raise capacity for all types of cargo 
to 600 tons daily, capable of increase to 1,800 tons by the addition of 
American rolling stock. The British had set themselves a goal of 2,000 
tons daily to be reached by April 1942. 32 

With a military operating and supervisory staff which reached a 
maximum of 120 officers and 3,900 engineer (sapper) troops and 
using the existing ISR civilian administrative and operating staff, the 
British Army had brought the railway in the last five months of 1942 
to a daily average for all cargoes of some 1,500 tons. To do so they 
had doubled the trackage in the yards at Andimeshk, Ahwaz, and 
Tehran, and had constructed over one hundred miles of new line. 
They doubled the area of the erecting shops at Tehran and put up 
new sheds, storehouses, workshops, and offices in various localities, as 
well as new wire installations for telephone and telegraph up and down 
the line. They doubled rolling stock, including motive power. Their 
achievement was not to be underrated; but it fell far short of the 
6,000-ton target now set by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 33 

General Connolly soon found that the inability of the railway to 
take away landed cargoes from the ports was the key problem to be 
solved in the new transport task facing him. The prospect was hardly 
pleasing. He wrote in December : 

My biggest mistake in estimating the situation before leaving Washington was 
in thinking that the ports were the bottleneck. I find that at present the rate of 
removing cargo from shipside determines the rate of unloading ships. There is no 
storage at the docks. There are not sufficient trucks and railroad rolling stock avail- 
able, and what they do have they do not operate efficiently. If I had known the 
above before leaving Washington, I would have arranged my priorities of men and 
equipment differently. 34 

As told in Chapter X, rail operating units which had received top 
priority for overseas shipment in early SOS planning shared equal 
priorities with port and trucking troops in the revised arrangements. 

"* (1) Rad cited n. 5(1). (2) Review and estimates of tonnage situation at end of 1941 in 
Report on Trans-Iranian Railway, by Capt. Paul F. Yount, 5 January 1942, and in British 
and American naval intelligence studies attached thereto or cited therein. WPD 4596 to -15 
Iran (Persia) HRS DRB AGO. 

B (1) PAI Force History, II, 203, 8-10, 13. (2) Ltrs, Lt Col A. E. M. Walter, Asst Dir 
Trans, British Army Stf, to: Brig Gen T. H. Dillon, 19 Sep 42, sub: Locomotives and Rolling 
Stock — Persia; and Brig Gen Sidney P. Spalding, 25 Sep 42, sub: Rpt on Car Position on the 
ISR. OCofTrans, Hist Br — Overseas Comd, Pentagon. 

" Ltr cited n. 11. 


Next after troop shipments came port unloading equipment, with 
diesels in third place. The transition from British to American opera- 
tion of the railway was therefore prolonged over several months during 
which the American railway troops were arriving, learning their jobs, 
and gradually taking over the line. 

To command them General Connolly had selected Colonel Yount 
who had come to the area in 1941 as a transportation expert with 
General Wheeler's Iranian Mission and had then gone with Wheeler 
to India. Recalled from India, Yount reached Basra on 5 October 1942, 
where, with a small forward echelon which arrived later from the 
United States, he established a temporary railway headquarters. In 
December, with its headquarters now moved to Ahwaz, the Military 
Railway Service was established as one of the operating services of 
the American command. 35 

A survey tour of the line conducted by Colonel Yount and confer- 
ences with Iranian, Soviet, and British officials laid the groundwork 
for the gradual process of take-over. This took place as fast as trained 
troops became available. The first outfit to arrive was the 71 1th Engi- 
neer Railway Operating Battalion. Unlike other units which were 
sponsored by American railways and later incorporated into the MRS, 
the 71 1th was all Army. Activated in June 1941, it was ready for work 
when it reached Khorramshahr in December 1942. Starting on 1 Janu- 
ary 1943 by taking over from the British operation of the line from that 
port to Ahwaz, by the 16th it was running the trains from Dorud to 
both Khorramshahr and Bandar Shahpur. 38 

To provide headquarters staff personnel for administration of the 
MRS, the 702d Railway Grand Division arrived in January. Recently 
activated in October 1942, this group was sponsored by the Union 
Pacific Railroad and was largely staffed by ex-civilian railroaders with 
a minimum of military training and indoctrination. On 9 February, 
with his headquarters moved from Ahwaz to Tehran, Colonel Yount 
formally assumed command as director and general manager of MRS 
and of the 702d Railway Grand Division. An organization chart for 
March shows a staff division of functions, into sections for Adminis- 
tration, Transportation, Water, Equipment, Engineering, and Supply, 
with operating functions centralized in two railway divisions — the 

" (1 ) Rad, Gen Somervell to Gen Wheeler, 9 Sep 42, Hq, ASF, Theaters of Opns, PGG 
(12) 1942-1943, HRS DRB AGO. (2) GO 11, Hq, PGSC, 17 Dec 42. 

""The account of organizational matters is based upon: (1) HOTI-V, pp. 27-48. This 
entire study of 153 pages is valuable for its detailed field-level story of the whole railway opera- 
tion. (2) Mil History, 71 1th Engr Rv Operating Bn, MRS, PGSC, Feb 43. PGF 45-A. (3) Mil 
History, Hq, MRS, PGSC, Mar, May 43, PGF 132-B, D. (4) Mil History, 762d Ry Diesel 
Shop Bn, MRS, 10 May, 7 Jun 43, PGF 60-D, E. (5) Organization Manuals filed under dates 
cited. PGF 240. (6) Mil History, Hq, 3d MRS, PGC, 1-31 Dec 44. PGF 132-X. 


Northern, extending from Tehran to Dorud; and the Southern, from 
there to the ports. The operating battalions derived their authority 
directly from the director. Among the more important accomplish- 
ments of this headquarters group, during the period of joint British- 
American operations, was the taking over by its Equipment Section 
in February of responsibility for all railway rolling stock and equip- 
ment. The Transportation Section, as a preliminary to the assumption 
of full American operating responsibilities, found it necessary to pre- 
pare a book of rules — the railroad man's bible — which would establish 
uniform procedures based upon explicit instructions. The ISR possessed 
no automatic signals, no interlocking or multiple tracks, and few grade 
crossings. Existing ISR rules had to be co-ordinated with such Ameri- 
can methods as could be modified to local conditions. After protracted 
discussion with Soviet and Iranian railway people, a standard book 
of rules was promulgated by common consent on 1 April. 

Meanwhile other operating units were arriving from the United 
States. In January the 730th Engineer Railway Operating Battalion, 
sponsored by the Pennsylvania Railroad, joined the 711th, which was 
already in charge of the Southern Division. By the end of March, the 
730th was ready to operate the Northern Division. A few days pre- 
viously, the 754th Railway Shop Battalion, just arrived, took over the 
ISR's principal locomotive and car repair shops at Tehran. 

These four organizations, the administrative unit, two operating 
battalions, and the shop battalion, totaled 3,067 officers and men, 
a number slightly greater than the strength allotted to the American 
railway service by the first estimates under the SOS Plan. Revised 
Tables of Organization provided for an additional shop battalion to 
handle the American diesel engines which were to take over the 
heaviest work from the steam locomotives. 37 Accordingly, the 762d 
Railway Diesel Shop Battalion added 632 officers and men to available 
manpower upon its arrival in March. During April and the first week 
of May it took over the shops at Ahwaz, consisting of back shop, the 
freight car assembly shops, and the powerhouse. 

By that time the MRS was already running the railway from Tehran 
to the Gulf. As of 1 April 1943 "responsibility for control of operations 
and maintenance of the Iranian State Railway between Tehran and 
Persian Gulf Ports formerly exercised by the Transportation Directo- 
rate (Persia) of PAI Force" devolved upon the MRS. On 1 May, when 
the Anglo-American agreement for control of movements came into 

87 (1) Ch. X, p. 193, above. (2) Memo, CofS for Opns, SOS, for G-3, 20 Sep 42; Memo, 
ACofS, OPD, for G-3, 21 Sep 42. OPD 617 Iran, Sp Coll, HRS DRB AGO. 


effect, railway movements, including allocation, scheduling of trains, 
and distribution of rolling stock passed also to the Americans. 88 

At the beginning of May there were about 3,700 officers and men of 
the MRS working on the railroad. Their numbers and the types of 
units assigned had been determined at the War Department. The re- 
sulting Tables of Organization, compiled far from the scene of activity, 
were not entirely adapted to field conditions. In War Department 
theory an operating battalion was to have jurisdiction over a stretch 
of 60 to 1 20 miles of single-track railway, including one terminal. A 
railway grand division would direct two operating battalions and one 
shop battalion, or a maximum of 240 miles of single-track line and two 
terminals. In actual practice the 702d Railway Grand Divisi